Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsEconomySo Much for Unity – Samaras Won’t Sign Troika Deal

So Much for Unity – Samaras Won’t Sign Troika Deal

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is for a bailout deal but not austerity

ATHENS – Just a few days after Greece got a coalition government charged with pushing through more austerity measures to get a second bailout of $157 billion from international lenders, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he’ll refuse to sign the agreement he opposed for 18 months, then said he would support, but now says he won’t sign.
He also expelled former justice minster Sotiris Hatzigakis from the Parliamen after Hatzigakis said that “Far-Right elements” had made their way into the conservative party. In a statement, Samaras said the comment was insulting to the party and its Members of Parliament, just as the party leader had characterized demands from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank that he must sign the bailout agreement.

What drew Samaras’ ire was Hatzigakis statement during greeting of the party’s Parliamentary group that: “I want to draw attention to the fact that some far-right elements, operating under the banner of the popular right, are trying to alter the makeup of New Democracy. New Democracy is a big, national, middle-class, European party with many currents,” said Hatzigakis. “It contains the popular right, the liberal right and the middle ground. That is the New Democracy that Constantine Karamanlis built and we are not going to let anybody change it.”
Samaras  wasn’t having any dissent or freedom of speech and said that the Trikala MP went against the party’s constitution by suggesting there were several groups within New Democracy instead of a unified front. He said Hatzigakis would face a disciplinary committee to decide whether he would be expelled from the party as well as the parliamentary group.
Samaras may also have to decide whether to oust another MP, Panos Kammenos who said he would not give the interim government his vote of confidence in a parliamentary vote on Nov. 16, the day before the anniversary of the fall of the military junta in 1974. Earlier, Samaras had told his MPs that he would continue to oppose austerity measures, even if they are proposed by the interim administration that his party joined last week and that he said he’d support, causing some confusion as to what his stand is.
“I agree with the goals to cut government spending … to reduce debt, to erase the deficit, to make structural changes. I do not agree with whatever stunts growth,” said Samaras. Samaras also said he would not sign any letter pledging support for conditions on the bailout, as EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn demanded. “I don’t sign such statements,” he said, adding that his word should be sufficient. Rehn said that Samaras, former prime minister George Papandreou, new premier Lucas Papademos, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Bank of Greece governor Giorgos Provopoulos would have to sign the documents for Greece to receive its next loan instalment of $11 billion, without which there won’t be enough money to pay workers and pensioners.
Samaras said he wants the money from the Troika but not the austerity measures and that the party would not vote for it. “This is not a coalition government,” said Samaras. “It would only be a coalition if we had common policy goals. The criticism of the policy followed by the  Papandreou government over the last two years does not end here.” New Democracy had opposed the austerity measures attached to the first bailout, arguing for lower taxes and more incentives for business. “We have committed to helping the transitional government but we do not commit to anything else,” he told the conservative lawmakers.
Samaras said the interim was a “temporary” solution and stressed that elections would have to be held on February 19 so people could express their opinion on what government they wanted. In a speech that was highly critical of former premier George Papandreou, Samaras accused him of “leaving the economy hanging by a thread.”
He said he supported what he called a “transitional” government to stop Papandreou from holding a referendum on Greece’s euro membership, to remove him from power, to support a government that would secure the next bailout and to fix a date for early elections. “We achieved all our targets within a week,” said Samaras, although he didn’t say how Greece would get the bailout without the austerity measures the Troika insisted must be met or the money will stop.
Samaras accused Papandreou and his office of trying to create the impression that ND was blocking the process of finding a new leader and forming an interim government. Despite media reports to the contrary, he said Papademos was only a last-minute compromise and had never been a front-runner although the new Premier flew from his teaching post at Harvard to Greece to meet Greek political leaders.
Samaras also said that said Papademos never set any terms for accepting the premiership, as had been suggested by Papandreou’s office. “I did not fall into the trap,” said Samaras, claiming that the outgoing prime minister had tried to lure the ND leader into publicly rejecting terms that never existed.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts