NEWS

Opposition leader presents program

A few days before the government is to submit in Parliament a midterm program foreseeing cuts to public spending, tax increases and an ambitious privatization drive, the leader of main opposition New Democracy on Thursday presented his party?s alternative program, saying that the debt-wracked economy needed a ?creative shock? if it is to recover.

?The people want pledges that will give them some confidence,? Samaras said at Zappeio Hall.

The conservative leader defended his decision to vote against the memorandum – Greece?s agreement with its foreign creditors – and appeared to cast himself as a leader-in-waiting, hinting at the need for early elections. ?I know where I?m going. I know what the country needs,? he declared.

His comments came as a survey carried out for Skai by Public Issue showed the difference between voter support for ruling PASOK and ND narrowing to 3 percent, compared to 5.5 percent in April.

Samaras said that his party had drafted a ?realistic? program that would ?reboot the economy.? ND?s proposals include leveling corporate tax to 15 percent and the legitimization of all buildings constructed outside the town plan. The latter measure would bring in 1.5 billion euros in the first year, Samaras said. He also called for the full privatization of the Public Power Corporation and efforts to attract diaspora Greeks as investors.

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said that some of ND?s proposals were ?unfeasible? while others had already been made by the government.

He called on ND to follow the example of Portugal, where the government and opposition have reached consensus on austerity measures.

Samaras appeared to rule out the prospect on Thursday, saying: ?A consensus on what? On what I disagree with? On what is ruining my country??