NEWS

Failure to back new legislation could lead to 'disaster,' conservative ministers warn

Faced with dissent within coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK ahead of a crucial parliament vote on a multi-bill expected to take place this weekend, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Thursday warned that failure to approve the legislation could lead to “disaster.”

“We have to choose between the painful path of reforms and [the path of] disaster. There is no other path,” Dendias told Skai radio on Thursday.

“It is us who will lose out if small vested interests are able to survive. It would put to question everything that we have achieved, the country would be thrown into turmoil,” the conservative minister said.

“We must stop thinking of our own narrow interests and act like a developed society,” he said.

Lawmakers were due to be briefed Thursday on the provisions of the government’s multi-bill containing several reforms mandated by the troika of foreign lenders, with changes to the rules on fresh milk and pharmacy ownership being two of the most contentious issues.

A total of eight lawmakers – five from New Democracy and three from PASOK – have indicated they will not vote for all the multi-bill’s provisions. There is also discontent in Parliament that the legislation is due to be submitted Friday with the aim of holding a vote on Sunday, thereby giving lawmakers little time to study the measures.

The comments from Dendias came as Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned that failure to vote for the measures could force Greece to leave the eurozone.

“Anyone who votes against [the multi-bill] in Parliament will be held accountable for the country's euro exit,” Georgiadis told Mega TV on Thursday.

“We are not kids, we are deputies... We are exiting the memorandum, everyone must live up to their responsibilities,” he said.

“The vote is a historic moment. The question is, who wants this land to move forward and who wants to take this land back to the nightmare,” he said.

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