SYRIZA accuses gov?t of toeing line

Greece?s main opposition party, SYRIZA, launched a strong attack on the government?s stance regarding the country?s bailout terms and sparred with New Democracy after one of the leftist party?s officials suggested that default is a ?weapon for the weak.?

SYRIZA, which had adopted a relatively low-key approach to the debate about the loan agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over the last few days, roared back to life Thursday with fierce criticism of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who it accused of having no interest in negotiating better bailout terms when he holds talks with European leaders next week.

?The continuation of the same memorandum policies, which focus on the reduction of wages, pensions, social spending and the sale of public wealth, prove that he is totally subservient to Greece?s lenders,? SYRIZA said in its statement. The party added that unless neoliberal policies are reversed, the crisis in Greece and the rest of Europe would deepen.

Samaras?s party, however, was more enraged by a comment from SYRIZA?s parliamentary spokesman, Panayiotis Lafazanis, in relation to bankruptcy. ?Default, in general — I don?t say it as an answer to the Greek problem — is not something that is necessarily catastrophic,? he told Alpha Radio.

?Default is a weapon for the weak when they reach a point they cannot pay their debts. Look at what is happening on a daily basis in our economy and society. So we shouldn?t present it as a bogeyman.?

New Democracy called Lafazanis?s comment ?shameful? and accused him of ?wishing the country would default.?

SYRIZA responded by accusing the conservatives of engaging in mudslinging as they had run out of ideas.