Leaders raise issue of party discipline

The country?s two main political parties, PASOK and New Democracy, are trying to get to grips with the painful measures agreed by their leaders with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund as their voting will allow Greece to receive the first tranche of the second bailout package.

Later on Saturday Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is set to address the nation.

Saturday?s stormy meeting of the parliamentary party of PASOK, ahead of the vote in Parliament on the new bailout deal on Sunday, led to a number of deputies resigning their seats as leader George Papandreou raised the issue of party discipline.

?We have to vote Yes, not because it is pleasant but because it will give Greece some time to stand on its feet,? said Papandreou.

One after another, the PASOK deputies who disagree with the loan agreement are tendering their resignation from the Parliament. On Saturday Pemi Zouni and Dimitris Varvarigos bowed out, following the resignation of Pavlos Stasinos on Friday. Several others have made it known they will vote No on Sunday.

New Democracy has not yet seen any deputies resigning in protest for the measures, but a number of them have stated they are against them.

ND leader Antonis Samaras also called for party discipline and said «the recipe of the agreement was wrong,» but added that ?the loan package is the start for us to put this chaos in some order. It will allow the country to rid itself of 85 billion euros of debt.?

Besides their opposition to the measures, left-wing parties have also objected to the urgent character of the bill, that requires immediate voting.