PASOK tee­ter­ing ahead of vote

Two MPs say they will op­pose midterm fis­cal plan, re­duc­ing So­cial­ists’ par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity to just four

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

An ex­tremely tense few days await the gov­ern­ment af­ter two PASOK MPs made it clear yes­ter­day that they would vote against the medi­umterm fis­cal plan, thereby re­duc­ing the rul­ing party’s ma­jor­ity to just four seats.

Gov­ern­ment sources at­tempted to brush off the de­ser­tions by sug­gest­ing that no more deputies would re­ject the new round of aus­ter­ity mea­sures, which Greece will have to adopt if it is to re­ceive a sec­ond bailout, thought to be around 100 bil­lion eu­ros, from the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

How­ever, there is a great deal of anx­i­ety with- in PASOK, which has been wracked by in­ter­nal dis­putes in re­cent weeks, af­ter the two MPs de­clared their op­po­si­tion to the mea­sures, with one an­nounc­ing he was quit­ting the party.

Gior­gos Lia­nis, a deputy for Flo­rina in north­ern Greece, said he was step­ping down in a letter to Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou. “We failed and now we are try­ing to hide the truth from the peo­ple,” said Lia­nis. “I can longer carry the bur­dens you have placed on us. Our eco­nomic pol­icy has failed and we are putting achieve­ments of the last 25 years un­der the ham­mer.”

The gov­ern­ment had 156 of the 300 seats in Par­lia­ment, hav­ing al­ready lost four MPs since it came to power in Novem­ber 2009. Lia­nis, a for­mer deputy cul­ture and sports min­is­ter and a PASOK deputy since 1989, said he would not give up his seat, which would al­low PASOK to re­place him with an­other can­di­date.

A sec­ond So­cial­ist deputy, Alexan­dros Athanasiadis, said he would also vote against the midterm plan but gave no in­di­ca­tion of want­ing to leave the party. “I am ready to as­sume my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” said Athanasiadis, who did not com­ment on whether there are other lawmakers con­sid­er­ing vot­ing against the lat­est batch of aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

With­out Athanasiadis, who rep­re­sents the Kozani con­stituency in north­ern Greece, the gov­ern­ment’s ma­jor­ity would drop to four, putting more pres­sure on Pa­pan­dreou. Gov­ern­ment sources, how­ever, said they were con­fi­dent that other wa­ver­ers in PASOK’s par­lia­men­tary group, such as Chryssa Ara­poglou and Yian­nis Amoiridis, would be dis­suaded from vot­ing against the midterm fis­cal plan.

A par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee is due to be­gin re­view­ing the bill to­day be­fore a vote ei­ther at the end of the month or at the be­gin­ning of July.

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