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PASOK parliamentary group on the brink of decay, Greece awaiting elections

23 September 2011 / 15:09:46  GRReporter
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Greek media likens the atmosphere among the members of the ruling PASOK party with a bomb ready to explode at any moment. Increasingly, they understand that the government is unable to conduct the necessary reforms and have announced the formation of a coalition government. In most cases, their position is the result of the pressure from their debilitated by the severe economic measures voters. According to some media, Greece finds itself in front of dramatic political events, as tens of PASOK MPs are preparing to vote against the additional property tax and the new package of measures, which will be put to a vote in parliament. 

In order to reduce the risk of rejection of the decision to introduce the extraordinary property tax which will be paid together with the electricity bill the leadership of parliament moved the vote to next Tuesday. Even the missing in recent days Prime Minister George Papandreou suddenly appeared and started having meetings with parliament members to convince them how important it is to vote for the imposition of the tax. The first meeting, with parliament members from Crete and the Ionian Islands, he said: "There is no other way. The other way is bankruptcy which will have serious consequences on the lives of every family. Today we find ourselves in the middle of a road. And it will be very bad to abandon this attempt in the middle, because not only we would have made sacrifices, but they would have been in vain." 

But tension is growing and with it the likelihood of serious damage to the parliamentary group of the ruling party. After the verbal attack on a group of parliament members towards the government spokesman Ilias Mosialos, because of his statements regarding the members' privileges: "The whole political system has political responsibility for what happened. But do not talk to me about this. I became a member of parliament in 2009 and I cannot answer for the entire political system. We know very well what happened in this country and you know that I am the only member of parliament who does not accept any of the deputies 'privileges', tensions spilled over into the meeting on economic issues. 

"Do we have a plan to get the country out of the crisis?", "Supposedly the parliamentary group should obtain guarantees that these measures will produce results”, "We should seek responsibility from all Ministers for the failure to achieve the goals", "We should accept all measures at once just like pulling a bandaid from a wound. Currently, the entire public sector is on its feet"," Our actions are the same as driving with 200 km per hour against a wall"," Droutsas and Mosialos attack parliament members on the eve of the adoption of the new measures. Is it just a coincidence?","The government does not bring any results. We cannot continually impose taxes on the same taxpayers”, "There is no way that in 2012 we will have primary residues in a time of recession" are a small part of the opinions expressed on the meeting. 

In this chaotic atmosphere the Left initiative in PASOK issued an announcement stating that "the salvation of the country depends mostly on the removal of incompetents and all who helped this country to reach this straightforward policy of deprivation. The reaction will be directed to all and expressed in all colors. Our patience is exhausted. Now it is time for all to assume our responsibility." 

Different parliament members undertook a mission to extinguish party fires. In a radio interview former press minister in the government of Costas Simitis, Christos Protopapas tried to dispel the impression created and expressed optimism that "despite these problems our parliamentary group will perform its duty to the country and its citizens." 

For his part, the Finance Minister and a major internal party opponent of the Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos caused sharp reaction of extreme left parliament members, with his statement that if parliament does not vote on the new measures most likely Greece will experience dramatic events such as the ones that happened in Argentina a decade ago. "The word Argentina created associations of coup and tanks," said SYRIZA President Alexis Tsipras and requested clarification from the Deputy President of the Greek government. He connected the announcement with a statement previously made by the Minister phrase that "the drama of the country that it cannot find a solution neither in a democratic manner, which can be reliable nor by election." According to Alexis Tsipras this is a "clear message to the coup." 

Evangelos Venizelos entered the parliamentary hall later on. When they informed him about the statements of his left leader, he said, he is obliged to tell the truth to the Greek people, not to decorate it. "The measures are a safety net that does not allow the country to sink." 

Alexis Tsipras did not withdraw his allegations and added that recently the financial minister "gives way to monologues with military terminology, such as war, asymmetric threats, military discipline, etc.". He turned to the minister, saying, "Mr. Venizelos, you are a constitutional expert, not a Colonel. Who are we in war with? With the Troika?  You said that fortunately it is here. With the markets? You are executing death orders. You are at war with society, with employees and with the unemployed." Alexis Tsipras said that the comparison of Greece with Argentina was very inappropriate, because Latin America was brought to a desperate situation due to the serious application of neoliberal policies and added: "The recipes and remedies that have failed in Argentina were carried over in Greece."

Tags: Greece economy crisis new measures IMF government
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