Gov’t MPS wa­ver over mea­sures

Four PASOK deputies in­di­cate re­luc­tance to ap­prove midterm fis­cal plan ahead of Wed­nes­day’s vote

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As many as four PASOK deputies are con­sid­er­ing not vot­ing for the gov­ern­ment’s medi­umterm fis­cal plan in Par­lia­ment this week, leav­ing the rul­ing PASOK party with the slimmest of ma­jori­ties to pass the new set of aus­ter­ity mea­sures through the House.

Greece has been told by its Euro­pean Union part­ners and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund that it has to pass the lat­est round of spend­ing cuts and tax hikes in or­der to qual­ify for a July loan in­stal­ment of 12 bil­lion eu­ros and to move a step closer to­ward agree­ing a sec­ond bailout with its len­ders.

With­out the July tranche, Greece will go bank­rupt. How­ever, the gov­ern­ment and its new Fi­nance Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los have yet to con­vince all 155 So­cial­ist MPs that they should back the midterm fis­cal plan when Par­lia­ment con­cludes its de­bate and vote on Wed­nes­day.

Kozani MP Alekos Athanasiadis in­sists he will op­pose the mea­sures. “Noth­ing has changed for me,” he told Skai TV on Satur­day. “I want to make it clear that I will not vote for the midterm fis­cal plan. I do not dis­agree with the gov­ern­ment on a lot of points but I stick to my view that some pub­lic en­ter­prises should not be sold.”

On Fri­day, Thomas Robopou­los, a Thes­sa­loniki law­maker, also said that he was con­sid­er­ing op­pos­ing the mea­sures. Robopou­los said he would prob­a­bly quit Par­lia­ment af­ter cast­ing his vote against the PASOK gov­ern­ment.

Robopou­los’s Thes­sa­loniki col­league Chryssa Ara­poglou has also in­di­cated she is re­luc­tant to ap­prove the pack­age and is con­sid­er­ing quit­ting her post.

On Satur­day, PASOK deputy Panayi­o­tis Kourou­b­lis also told Skai TV that he was in emo­tional tur­moil over whether to sup­port the gov­ern­ment. “For any­one who is an MP, these are the most tor­tur­ous days of his life,” he said.

Kourou­b­lis said he sent a note to Venize­los seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on 15 points and would wait for a re­sponse be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion on how he would vote. If all four MPs op­pose the gov­ern­ment, PASOK would be left with a one-seat ma­jor­ity un­less it re­ceived sup­port from an­other smaller party, such as the cen­trist Demo­cratic Al­liance. Venize­los ac­knowl­edged on Satur­day that some of the mea­sures are “se­vere and un­fair” but added that “this is the only way at the mo­ment that we can ad­dress an ur­gent na­tional need.”

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