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Coalition MPs poised to back multi-bill

The likelihood of a major parliamentary rebellion, which could even put the coalition at risk of losing Sunday’s vote on the omnibus bill of reforms, appeared to diminish on Thursday after lengthy talks between members of the government and lawmakers.

Sources suggested that the talks had resulted in most government MPs, including Alternate Agricultural Development Minister Maximos Harakopoulos, dropping their objections to the multi-bill, including the contentious provisions on the shelf life of milk.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appeared upbeat after talks with Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos. The New Democracy leader said that voting the bill through would be part of a process that would lead to Greece exiting the troika’s supervision and the crisis. “All of the country’s successes have been recognized, there will be no more austerity and, most importantly, we have maintained all our red lines,” he said in reference to last week’s agreement with the troika, which formed the basis for the reforms included in the multi-bill.

“This is the only thing that counts today and nobody can dispute it. Our MPs know this. They are responsible and have already shown it,” added Samaras. Venizelos insisted that the government had “everything under control” even though eight MPs had suggested they would oppose the legislation.

Sources said that talks between Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and dissenting New Democracy MPs had helped douse lawmakers’ objections. PASOK MPs Thanos Moraitis and Michalis Kassis also appear to have been appeased even though the draft legislation regarding milk, which was included in the three multi-bill articles made public Thursday, was hardly changed.

The omnibus bill is due to be submitted to Parliament on Friday and voted on during a midnight ballot on Sunday.

SYRIZA blasted the would-be legislation as a precursor to a fresh bailout and new round of austerity. The opposition party said the multi-bill was based on the principles of “internal devaluation, medieval labor laws, the destruction of social security funds, the recapitalization of banks and favoring major multinational interests.”

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 27, 2014 (21:45)  
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