ND calls for banks to help with loans

Greece?s political parties on Friday continued their maneuvering in anticipation of snap polls, with conservative New Democracy suggesting that banks should help indebted citizens and businesses with loan repayments.

Following ND?s calls for an unpopular property tax, levied on electricity bills, to be replaced by a unified tax bringing together all property levies, and the suggestion that the conservatives would not tolerate further cuts to pensions, the party?s shadow economy minister, Christos Staikouras, said that banks should offer loan rescheduling to those who need it, by extending repayment periods or reducing interest rates. Once banks are recapitalized, they should be able to help ?those who are demonstrably unable to meet their obligations,? he said.

There was activity in the ranks of ND Friday, with another three of the MPs expelled last month for voting against Greece?s bailout returning to the fold. Christos Papasiozos, Giorgos Karasmanis and Giorgos Vagionas returned, joining Margaritis Tzimas who came back earlier this week. Another three of the expelled MPs, Constantinos Gioulekas, Giorgos Vlachos and Eliza Vozemberg, are said to be discussing their possible return. The rest have joined the newly formed Independent Greeks party of ousted ND deputy Panos Kammenos.

Meanwhile the founders of another new party, the Social Pact, former PASOK ministers Louka Katseli and Haris Kastanidis, gave a press conference in Thessaloniki, saying they were open to work with ?progressive? groupings but not with PASOK or ND.

Separately Friday Prime Minister Lucas Papademos suggested that changes would be made to a university reform approved last summer in line with demands made by Education Minister Giorgos Babiniotis.

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