NEWS

Opposition parties accuse PM of 'blackmail'

New Democracy rejected Prime Minister George Papandreou?s call for a referendum on the debt deal Greece agreed with its eurozone partners, saying that it was tantamount to blackmailing the Greek people.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is due to meet with President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday, when he is expected to repeat his call for general elections to be held. Sources said that the conservatives were on Monday night considering ways of forcing Papandreou?s hand so he would call elections rather than go to the polls.

One of the options being considered was for all ND lawmakers to resign their positions and boycott Parliament.

?Mr Papandreou is dangerous,? said ND spokesman Yiannis Michelakis. ?He has tossed Greece?s future in Europe in the air like a coin.?

The Communist Party (KKE) had a similar reaction, saying it was opposed to a referendum being held. ?No to the blatant blackmail and the ideological terrorization of the people,? said spokesman Makis Mailis.

KKE leader Aleka Papariga had earlier repeated the party?s call for elections to be held.

A few hours before Papandreou called for the referendum, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) met with Papoulias and asked the president to use his powers to convene a session in Parliament to discuss the debt deal agreed with the eurozone. Later, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras dismissed Papandreou?s initiative as a ?trick.?

Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis also dismissed the referendum idea. ?The question of ?yes? or ?no? to a new loan deal refers to fiscal matters and it is questionable whether the constitution allows such a referendum,? he said.

While it was not clear what question Papandreou would like to pose in the referendum, Papoulias would have to give his approval. Also, for the result of the vote to be considered binding, at least 40 percent of registered voters would have to cast their ballots.

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