Heated parliamentary debate on gov’t plans

The second day of the parliamentary process of the presentation of the government’s policy program was particularly heated at times on Saturday, with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the opposition, launching a fierce attack against the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos responding using strong terms against the SYRIZA leader.

Tsipras accused Samaras of launching the sell-off of Greece with his policy framework that he presented on Friday, adding that this government will be no different to those of George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos.

“The renegotiation of the bailout agreement ended on the evening of June 17 [the election day]. Whoever fell for it has been conned. Yet you will have the same fate, if not worse, as the previous government because the strength of the people is about to be exhausted, and equally the scope for terrorizing it is being exhausted,» said Tsipras.

“The admission by the new Finance Minister that we cannot ask for anything, constitutes the new, disastrous doctrine of the new, three-party coalition government,» said the SYRIZA leader, warning that whoever tries to sell state assets at a nominal value will have to be punished for it, and the Greek people will reserve the right not to recognize such privatizations.

Venizelos responded by accusing Tsipras of populism and voicing his support for the government.

“The country cannot stand any longer the reproduction of pre-election simplifications. It cannot stand any more populism. One should not choose the easy way of waiting for the country to fail, or even worse, say from this spot that he will systematically undermine the government’s work and dispute the country’s responsibility. That is not the mandate that the people gave on June 17,» said the PASOK president.

He later proposed a reduction of the public debt by 25 percentage points of the gross domestic product through the transfer of the cost of the banks’ recapitalization to the European Financial Stability Facility and by 12 pecentage points of the GDP through the retroactive inclusion of the Greek bonds held by the European Central Bank in the debt restructuring (PSI) and through a bond buy-back program.

The head of the Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos said that this is the fourth government led by Costas Simitis, referring to the Prime Minister who held the office between 1996 and 2004, and warned that a third bailout agreement is coming.

When Nikos Michaloliakos, the leader of Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) started making his way to deliver his speech, the deputies of SYRIZA, the Independent Greeks and the Communist Party left their seats. Earlier, when Tsipras started speaking, all Golden Dawn deputies left the chamber.

Michaloliakos said that the government’s policy does not solve the problem but reproduces it, and asked for the bailout agreement to be abandoned.

Fotis Kouvelis, the head of the third government partner, Democratic Left, said «we are the party that constitutes the independent force of renegotiation,» which will be tough and constant. He added that the framework of the new government is «realistic and progressive.”

Communist Party KKE leader Aleka Papariga felt sick on Saturday evening and postponed her speech for Sunday.

Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos announced his plan for the redrafting of the country’s foreign policy through the use of experts’ teams.

Yannis Stournaras, the Finance Minister, suggested that the bailout agreement should not be blamed as it was the outcome of the crisis in Greece.

“For us to negotiate, the other side must also want to negotiate, and I am reminding you of what Ms [Christine] Lagarde said,» Stournaras said in reference to what the managing director of the International Monetary Fund said earlier this week about not being in the mood for a renegotiation. «If they do not want to [negotiate], one has to wait.”

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