Gov?t plays down party clashes

As the two parties in the country?s fragile coalition administration continued to squabble over policy and other issues Tuesday, government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis sought to play down the disharmony while emphasizing the need to push through reforms pledged to foreign creditors.

Kapsis told reporters ?friction? was not surprising ahead of snap polls but added that ?the important thing is that we proceed with our basic obligations.? Sources told Kathimerini that Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will press ministers to overcome their differences in finalizing the provisions of reforms.

Kapsis said all pending legislation should be approved by April 10. This suggests that the likeliest date for elections is May 6 as, according to Greek law, 25 days must separate the dissolution of Parliament and the election date.

Even as the government spokesman urged the importance of implementing reforms, a senior official of conservative New Democracy, Yiannis Vroutsis, said his party was considering revoking a highly unpopular tax on property, which is levied through electricity bills, following the formation of a new government which ND is expected to lead, though not independently.

Vroutsis, who met with homeowners Tuesday, said ND envisaged a repeal from 2013 of the tax that was introduced by the previous socialist PASOK government. It would be replaced by a broad levy uniting the current range of taxes on property, Vroutsis said, noting that ?more people will pay less.?

In the ranks of PASOK meanwhile, the party?s new leader Evangelos Venizelos was busy putting together his campaign committee. The team will comprise all top-ranking PASOK ministers, all members of the party?s political council and some new faces, sources said.

In a separate development Tuesday, Citizens? Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis welcomed a decision by Attica?s regional authorities to approve the creation of three detention centers for illegal immigrants on sites that remain to be determined. Chrysochoidis, who on Monday heralded the creation of 30 such centers over the next two years, welcomed the move. But, in the wake of vehement opposition by some local authorities to the plan, he added that he ?hoped the country?s remaining regional councils show the same sensitivity and efficiency.?

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