NEWS

ND keeps up pressure over snap elections

New Democracy kept up the pressure on Friday on the interim government over the issue of early elections as the possibility of some members of the conservative party voting against aspects of the 2012 budget in Parliament later this month also emerged.

ND party secretary Andreas Lykourentzos held talks with Interior Minister Tasos Giannitsis on Friday in a clear attempt to show that the conservatives still expect elections to be held early next year despite some suggestions that the interim administration might need more time than originally planned.

New Democracy reluctantly agreed to take part in the tripartite government after obtaining assurances that snap elections would be held as soon as Greece?s negotiations with its private bondholders over a voluntary haircut were wrapped up. The date proposed for early polls was February 19.

ND sources told Kathimerini on Friday that as Greece has secured the next tranche of its loan funding, the only goals left for the interim administration are to secure the next bailout and the agreement with bondholders.

The party?s head of political planning, Maximos Charakopoulos, suggested that ND deputies might express their skepticism about next year?s budget during the vote in Parliament later this month. The conservatives advocate a different approach to tackling the crisis, involving tax cuts, and Charakopoulos said that approval of the budget by ND would not mean that the party has dropped its opposition to some measures.

ND spokesman Yiannis Michelakis issued another statement criticizing the labor reserve scheme for public servants. He also claimed that while in government on its own, PASOK had made illegal hirings in the civil service.