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Venizelos slams Papandreou over multi-bill vote but avoids ousting ex-PM from party

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos slammed his predecessor George Papandreou for failing to support both articles of the omnibus bill in a late vote on Sunday but stopped short of ousting the former prime minister from the party, a move that would have put the coalition’s majority at risk.

Papandreou voted against the bill’s second article, which seeks to create a new legal framework for banks. The ex-premier had expressed reservations about these reforms, which could see the bank recapitalization fund make losses on some of the shares it purchased, for some time.

Veteran PASOK MP Apostolos Kaklamanis did not support the first article of the bill, which contained a series of liberalization measures.

The government won the vote with 152 MPs supporting the first article and 151 the second. The passing of the bill means that the Eurogroup is likely to approve the release of more than 8 billion euros in bailout loans when it meets in Athens on Tuesday.

Venizelos did not choose to eject the two lawmakers from PASOK’s parliamentary group, as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras did with New Democracy deputy Nikitas Kaklamanis, who did not vote for both articles.

Kaklamanis’s ouster meant that the government went down to 152 seats in Parliament. If Venizelos took the same action against the two PASOK MPs that failed to provide full support, the coalition would have lost its two-seat support, putting its future in serious doubt.

As a result, Venizelos settled for issuing a strongly-worded statement criticizing Papandreou without naming him specifically.

“Hypocrisy and personal political games are what led this country and the political system to today’s situation,” said the PASOK leader. “These are the kind of practices that we need to overturn.”

Venizelos also accused Papandreou of failing to raise the issue in the days leading up to the vote, when PASOK MPs met to discuss the content of the omnibus bill.

Papandreou responded to his successor by issuing his own somewhat sarcastic statement, which turned Venizelos’s words against him. “It is true that hypocrisy and personal political games are what led this country and the political system to today’s situation,” he said. “These are the kind of practices that we need to overturn.”

ekathimerini.com , Monday March 31, 2014 (09:38)  
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