Pa­pan­dreou vows to press on

As thou­sands protest in cen­tral Athens, PM says he is un­de­terred by lack of con­sen­sus among po­lit­i­cal par­ties

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou vowed yes­ter­day to con­tinue with the over­haul of Greece’s pub­lic fi­nances de­spite his in­abil­ity to agree on mea­sures with the lead­ers of op­po­si­tion par­ties, while in the largest demon­stra­tion so far from the “In­dig­nant” move­ment in Athens, thou­sands protested aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

Speak­ing from Kalavryta in the Pelo­pon­nese, Pa­pan­dreou said he had not been de­terred by two failed at­tempts last week to ob­tain cross­party sup­port for fis­cal mea­sures. “I will do my duty, I am not in­ter­ested in petty party po­lit­i­cal games, nor in po­lit­i­cal cost,” said the prime min­is­ter, who added that Greece would prove the “naysay­ers” wrong.

“We are in the first year of a three-year ef­fort,” he noted. The prime min­is­ter said that he was op­ti­mistic Greece would have a pri­mary bud­get sur­plus by next year.

How­ever, Pa­pan­dreou came un­der at­tack from his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals over the week­end. The leader of the Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, ac­cused Pa­pan­dreou of at­tempt­ing to by­pass the will of the Greek peo­ple by sug­gest­ing dur­ing the lead­ers’ meet­ing on Fri­day the idea of bring­ing op­po­si­tion politi­cians or other fig­ures not aligned to any of the par­ties into the gov­ern­ment. “It is not enough that they handed the econ­omy over to the bankers, now they want to hand over the pop­u­lar man­date,” Tsipras told SYRIZA mem­bers.

Speak­ing at the congress of her cen­trist party, Demo­cratic Al­liance, Dora Bakoy­an­nis, sug­gest- ed that Pa­pan­dreou and the New Democ­racy leader were putting per­sonal in­ter­est ahead of the coun­try. “They want to be the drachma prime min­is­ters,” she said.

Per­haps the strong­est con­dem­na­tion of the gov­ern­ment, and the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem as a whole, came from pro­test­ers who gath­ered in Syn­tagma Square for a fifth con­sec­u­tive day. It was the largest demon­stra­tion by the so-called In­dig­nant move­ment, with es­ti­mates putting the crowd at any­where be­tween 30,000 and 100,000 peo­ple.

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