Sa­ma­ras de­fi­ant de­spite pres­sure

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

New Democ­racy leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras ap­pears to have been un­moved by pres­sure from his Euro­pean coun­ter­parts to sup­port the gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity mea­sures and in­sists that the “pol­icy mix” is not cor­rect.

Sa­ma­ras met the lead­ers of other Euro­pean cen­ter-right par­ties in Brus­sels on Thurs­day but their com­ments en­cour­ag­ing greater cross­party agree­ment in Greece did not sway the con­ser­va­tive leader’s po­si­tion. In a state­ment, he said the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy was wrong and his party would not vote for the medium-term fis­cal plan on Wed­nes­day.

“I re­peated our po­si­tion that we agree with the tar­gets for fis­cal ad­just­ment… but we dis­agree with the pol­icy mix which has al­ready led us into a deep and pro­tracted re­ces­sion,” said Sa­ma­ras, who has ex­pressed concern about how he and his party are be­ing por­trayed in the in­ter­na­tional me­dia.

Ear­lier, Euro­pean lead­ers had called on Greece’s con­ser­va­tives to adopt a more con­cil­ia­tory stance. “When it comes to Greece, we call on the op­po­si­tion to ful­fill its his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said.

Sa­ma­ras could find him­self be­ing up­staged by his for­mer ri­val for ND’s lead­er­ship, Dora Bakoy­an­nis, over the week­end. The cen­tral com­mit­tee of Bakoy­an­nis’s Demo­cratic Al­liance party is due to meet to­day to dis­cuss what po­si­tion its five MPs will take dur­ing next week’s vote.

Sources said it is al­most cer­tain that the cen­trist deputies will not vote against the midterm fis­cal plan. There is a pos­si­bil­ity they might sup­port it, rather than just de­clare them­selves “present,” in which case the gov­ern­ment would not be con­cerned if a few of its own lawmakers voted against the mea­sures.

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