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Operation "Concrete"

27 October 2012 / 14:10:09  GRReporter
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Senior party functionaries and officials in the Prime Minister's office have begun making serious efforts in order to overcome the objections by some members of New Democracy regarding the measures provided for in the Memorandum.

The Prime Minister himself will participate in this operation. He wants to ensure that there won't be any problems on the part of his party while voting the measures next week.

According to sources, before the vote, the Parliamentary Group of the Party will have a meeting, at which it is expected that Antonis Samaras will depict the Greek economy in dramatic colours and ask everyone to overcome their own objections, justified or not, and to unite around the national interest. Surely, the Prime Minister will raise the question of the party's discipline, saying that the vote for the bill and the budget is similar to a confidence vote.

The members of New Democracy's parliamentary group are concerned about the impact of the severe measures which will have to be voted in only a few days. They have a lot of objections and their discontent was recently thrown upon many of the ministers from New Democracy, including Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, Deputy Minister of Finance Christos Staykouras and Deputy Minister of Development Notis Mitarakis.

However, it is not yet clear whether these objections, which a lot of people find reasonable, will mean a negative vote in parliament. The Prime Minister's Office hopes that the "political massage", which will be effected by Samaras himself in the following days, will have influence and ultimately there won't be so many splinter groups.

According to sources, the number of deputies suspected of a "riot" is less than ten. This number does not include Nikitas Kaklamanis, who stressed publicly that he will not vote for the introduction of a six-day workweek. However, bearing in mind that this condition is not included in the final text of the agreement, it seems that the former mayor of Athens will not be expelled from New Democracy.

The rest of the members, who have expressed concerns, are George Vlahou, George Karazmanis, Theophilos Leondaridis, George Kasapidis, George Orfanos, Thanasis Davlouros, Michalis Papadopoulos and Elias Vlahoyanis. Costas Gioulekas, who also figured in this list, has made it clear that, despite his disagreement, he will support the government.

A meeting

According to sources, a meeting has been recently held between some of the discontented members, at which they have decided to ask for cooperation on the part of the director of the Prime Minister's Office, Costas Bouras, so that the ministers, who are responsible for the questions around the Memorandum, inform them about the final decisions. Costas Bouras has replied that soon there will be a meeting with the Prime Minister, and that the parliamentary group of New Democracy will be convened before the vote.

It remains questionable, however, whether the Deputies will have the chance to get a word in at this meeting, or if they will just be sent the Prime Minister's message.

The Prime Minister's office considers it certain that the problem with the leader of the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, and the scenarios for reconstruction of the Cabinet, hinted at by the Prime Minister, could limit the reactions within the party, because it is already absolutely necessary that all members of New Democracy vote for the measures.

As it became clear on Saturday at 11.00, the Prime Minister is convening a meeting of all the ministers who are involved in the prior actions, required to be taken, as a condition by the Troika, for the next tranche to be released.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who is now in the USA, has already had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Finance and the State Minister.

According to government sources, the goal of current efforts is to finalize the last details of the contract with the supervisory Troika by Monday, when the Euro Working Group will meet in Brussels. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday but it was postponed so that the government partners have more time to overcome their political disagreements.

Evangelos Venizelos has already talked to Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras and he will try to talk to the Prime Minister on the matters related to labour relations, especially the allowance for marriage and the comprehensiveness of the collective agreement.

PASOK believes that if an agreement is reached on these two issues, it will be easier for the Democratic Left to agree on other issues related to labour relations as well.

At the same time, yesterday Antonis Samaras spoke to the leader of the Democratic Left and it is expected that today he will also contact Fotis Kouvelis, in order to find a solution and for the party to agree to vote the whole package of measures.

According to the plan, the package of measures has to be submitted to parliament on Tuesday, so that the 31.5 billion euro tranche is approved on Wednesday, when Eurogroup will have an extraordinary meeting.

Tags: Memorandum Troika package of measures Antonis Samaras Evangelos Venizelos
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