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Planned cut of the Greek cabinet

20 January 2012 / 17:01:50  GRReporter
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The possibility of reshuffling the composition of the cabinet was one of the main topics of the first meeting of the leaders of Greek political parties under the leadership of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos. Despite the smiles and the attempts to convince that they are on good terms with each other, they failed to agree either on the date of expected early elections, or on the pressing problems set by the supervisory Troika.

George Papandreou, Antonis Samaras, George Karatzaferis and the Prime Minister agreed to meet again next week. This prompted many comments because they were not willing to sit together before the meeting last night. At their next meeting, they will try to agree on their position on the negotiations with Troika representatives and on the mode of action of the coalition government. The possible date for holding early elections will be discussed "later".

During the meeting that lasted two and a half hours, the leaders of New Democracy and LAOS strongly opposed the abolition of the 13th and 14th salary and the cuts of additional pensions. As they failed to agree on the issue, the political leaders decided to discuss it again after the dialogue between the representatives of employees and their employers. The leader of the far-right party LAOS even proposed that the meeting between the social partners to take place in a hall of Parliament to avoid incidents such as the invasion of trade unionists from the Communist Party and the spoiling of the first meeting a few days ago.

Former roommates George Papandreou and Antonis Samaras did not miss the opportunity to come to confrontation regarding their support for the cabinet of Lucas Papademos. During the discussion on the text of the operation of the government that the Prime Minister had started, the leader of PASOK accused New Democracy of supporting the office only when it prefers to. He invited Antonis Samaras to stand behind the decisions from the November meeting under the auspices of President Papoulias. "Just to inform you, all members of New Democracy supported the bill today," was the answer of the leader of the "blue". In practice, the three party leaders agreed that they disagree with parts of the text proposed by the Prime Minister. As a result, Lucas Papademos withdrew his proposal and promised to make some "improvements" before submitting it again at the next meeting.

There was disagreement on the date of early elections too. George Papandreou and George Karatzaferis supported the extension of the office, "until we start wearing short-sleeved clothes," as LAOS leader stated. Antonis Samaras, however, insisted that the government should survive until it performs the tasks for which it was formed. George Papandreou said that this was a historic opportunity to vote great reforms in an atmosphere of consent and gave the examples of the changes adopted in education, fight with tax evasion and corruption. He added the issues of national importance such as the use of natural resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone and the issue of the name of Macedonia. Antonis Samaras responded to all that by stating that this office had a "special purpose" and in no case, was it a "joint government".

However, political leaders agreed to establish two committees. One of them will undertake to prepare the change of constitution and the other one - the tax system. A third, three-member committee will address the issues of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Greece.

The three leaders agreed on the composition of the cabinet. George Papandreou said that he had "authorized" the Prime Minister to start evaluating the performance of Ministers and make the necessary adjustments in the number and composition of the cabinet when needed. Lucas Papademos replied that he would announce his position on the issue later, apparently because it depends on the duration of his government.

At the same time, George Papandreou continues to behave as if he himself is the head of the cabinet. A few days ago, invitations for meetings with representatives of employer and employee organizations had been sent from his office. The chairman of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises Dimitris Daskalopoulos refused to meet with the leader of PASOK. He replied to the letter by a letter, which stated that "any party intervention in the dialogue between social partners will not contribute, but it would rather do harm."

Along with internal party bickering, however, meetings with representatives of Greek creditors are taking place. The New Democracy leader will hold talks with the supervisory Troika on Saturday at 7 pm.

Tags: PoliticsLucas PapademosPolitical leadersCabinet reshufflingCabinet supportReforms
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