NEWS

Attempt to quell unrest within PASOK

In a bid to quell the unrest within PASOK, the government plans to inform its party members and MPs at the beginning of next week about the measures it wants to adopt in order to bring public finances under control and to convince the EU and the IMF to lend Greece more money.

Sources said yesterday that an informal cabinet meeting will take place on Monday so minister can discuss the midterm fiscal plan. On Tuesday, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou will set out the details of the scheme for MPs. This discussion will be followed by a meeting of PASOK?s political council.

Government sources said that Prime Minister George Papandreou and his aides want MPs and party members to have a chance to express their opinions before the bill goes to Parliament. PASOK has a six-seat majority but cannot risk a rebellion by its own MPs. ?If there is no analytical discussion, I will not vote,? said PASOK deputy Thomas Robopoulos.

Concerns about a backlash from Socialist lawmakers have been exacerbated by a letter that 16 PASOK MPs sent to Papandreou on Thursday. They urged him to allow ample time for the measures to be debated and questioned why the government had not provided an assessment of what had gone wrong over the past year.

When the EU-IMF memorandum was approved by Parliament last May, the government received the backing of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) but its leader, Giorgos Karatzaferis, said on Friday that the right-wing party would not back the latest set of measures. ?We won?t vote for the midterm plan because we already gave them one chance and they wasted it,? he said.