The 2019 draft budget was passed parliament with a majority vote of 154 votes on Tuesday night. Among those that voted in favor, i.e. government MPs, Yiannis Saridis, Union of Centrists deputy, also voted in favor.
This has caused an uproar as many in the opposition claim that SYRIZA has been "fishing" for deputies that will support it in various hurdles it will hae to overcome in the near future, from opposition parties, or among independents.
"I am a man that believes in a voting according to one's conscience, in the freedom of MPs and considers that party lines should not exist, that party lines are responsible for leading the country to its current state," Centrists Union MP Yiannis Saridis stated to radio "Praktoreio 104.9 FM" regarding his decision to vote for the state budget in parliament on Tuesday.
"The MP is the peoples' representatives and is in the service of the nation and the people," he said, while clarifying that he remains in the Centrists Union. "I am not leaving, that was never my intention," he said, underlining that he will not vote for the Prespes Agreement and disagrees with the use of the term 'Macedonia' by Greece's northern neighbour FYROM.
Asked why he voted for the budget, he said that there was only one reason, namely "the government's promise that it will bring to parliament next month a draft law proposal that I have tabled for free legal aid to weaker Greek citizens living below the poverty line," noting that this would grant access to the Greek justice system for people currently denied legal aid even if they had minimal real income.