LAOS leader says will not vote for debt deal

The leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis, on Friday called on Prime Minister Lucas Papademos to reshuffle his government, installing technocrats in the place of socialist PASOK ministers, adding that he would not approve a new debt deal agreed between the government and foreign creditors but neither would he withdraw from the coalition as he had threatened to do earlier this week.

“The creditors are asking for 40 years of submission,» Karatzaferis told a press conference. «Greece will not give itself up,» he said, adding that «Greece cannot survive outside the EU but it can survive without a German boot.”

Stating that the creditors’ insistence on cuts to auxiliary pensions had been the last straw, he said that had the cuts passed, the leader of the mission of the International Monetary Fund in Greece, Poul Thomsen, would be «persona non grata» in the country.

The right-wing leader accused the creditors of trying to «deprive Greece of the last trace of national sovereignty» and said that the country should be given a five-year grace period to pay off its debts at a favorable interest rate.

Karatzaferis did not determine whether his party’s 16 MPs would approve new austerity measures in a parliamentary vote expected on Sunday or Monday. If his deputies vote down the bill, the government will retain a comfortable majority of 236 in the 300-seat House. But his party’s votes would be useful as several coalition MPs in both PASOK and New Democracy have indicated that they object to certain measures and may vote against them.

Speaking an hour before a scheduled cabinet meeting, Karatzaferis repeated an earlier demand for Papademos to replace ministers of PASOK with technocrats.