NEWS

Samaras to address skeptical public

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to make a national address in the next few days to bolster public support for the latest austerity package, while warning his MPs that they will be ejected from New Democracy if they fail back the cuts when they are voted on in Parliament.

The government still harbors an outside hope that it will be able to pass the measures through Parliament before the Eurogroup meeting on October 8. This means the cuts will be combined into one article in a draft law, thereby preventing deputies from voting for some cuts and not others. The debate on the measures will also be limited to 48 hours.

Samaras intends to enforce party discipline by threatening his 128 deputies with expulsion from New Democracy if they vote against the package. However, sources said that Samaras and his aides are more concerned about the public?s reaction. One of the reasons that the debate will be limited is to minimize the potential for rallies outside Parliament.

In his address, due within the next few days, Samaras is expected to attempt to convince voters that the new cuts are a necessary part of the strategy to exit the crisis but also that this will be the last austerity package to be passed by the government. His third task will be to provide hope that there is ?light at the end of the tunnel,? sources said.

A Metron Analysis poll for Ependitis newspaper on Saturday indicated that 68 percent of Greeks believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. The same survey gave leftist SYRIZA a slight lead over ND, with 20.8 percent of the support against 19.6 for the conservatives.

Another poll, by Rass for Parapolitika weekly, gave ND a similar-sized lead over SYRIZA. Both surveys placed far-right Golden Dawn in third place at about 9 percent.

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