NEWS

Group of PASOK MPs turn on premier

The rifts within the ruling PASOK party, caused by the government?s handling of the debt crisis, were laid bare on Thursday when 16 Socialist deputies sent a letter to Prime Minister George Papandreou demanding that Parliament be given time to properly debate the new set of austerity measures Greece is about to agree with the troika.

Papandreou looks set to reveal the measures on Friday, when he will meet with Eurogroup chief Jean Claude-Juncker, but the Socialist deputies expressed concern about the midterm fiscal package and the government?s privatization plan not being subject to the usual democratic process.

They said Papandreou and his ministers had not given an evaluation of Greece?s progress one year after signing an emergency loan agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

?A year after signing the memorandum, we are at a crucial juncture again. Why?? the MPs asked in their letter. ?It is not just an issue of political responsibility; logic demands that we have an evaluation. It is a question of patriotism, democracy and responsibility.

?It is the most basic proof that we respect the votes of our citizens.?

The deputies are concerned that the midterm fiscal plan and the privatization bill will be rushed through Parliament without being debated fully. ?They have to understand that we exist, we are not just here for decoration,? one of the 16 deputies, who wished to remain unnamed, told Kathimerini.

However, Papandreou looks set to snub their demands. Sources said on Thursday that he has decided the fiscal plan will be presented as one article in order to prevent Parliament voting on it article by article, which would give PASOK MPs and other lawmakers the chance to vote against aspects of the draft law.

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