Sa­ma­ras re­solve put to the test

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

New Democ­racy leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras is due to come un­der in­tense scrutiny over his party’s re­luc­tance to back the lat­est round of aus­ter­ity mea­sures in Greece to­day when he at­tends a meet­ing in Brus­sels of the Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Party, the col­lec­tion of the con­ti­nent’s cen­ter-right po­lit­i­cal groups.

Sources said that Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel may seek to meet Sa­ma­ras on the side­lines of to­day’s meet­ing to dis­cuss his ob­jec­tions to the mea­sures.

Sa­ma­ras ex­plained why he is op­posed to the gov­ern­ment’s fis­cal pol­icy in an in­ter­view with the Fi­nan­cial Times. “They’re ask­ing me to sup­port the same kind of medicine for some­one who is dy­ing from that medicine,” he said. “Liq­uid­ity is the top, top, top prob­lem of the econ­omy. Imag­ine what hap­pens in the real econ­omy when there is no pri­vate spend­ing, no gov­ern­ment spend­ing and no for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. Ev­ery­thing is clos­ing down.”

Sa­ma­ras is also fac­ing some pres­sure from his own MPs. Deputy Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis sug­gested he would vote for the midterm fis­cal plan if the gov­ern­ment needs an ex­tra vote for the mea­sures to be passed. Sources said some con­ser­va­tive MPs were un­happy about hav­ing to walk out of Par­lia­ment dur­ing Tues­day’s vote of con­fi­dence de­bate. ND’s par­lia­men­tary group sec­re­tary Costas Ta­soulas or­dered the lawmakers to leave af­ter Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Theodoros Pan­ga­los said the PASOK gov­ern­ment elected in 1981 was Greece’s first truly freely elected ad­min­is­tra­tion. The MPs came back af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou ac­knowl­edged the role of ND founder Con­stan­tine Kara­man­lis in the re­turn of democ­racy to Greece fol­low­ing the fall of the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship in 1974.

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