Karamanlis cracks whip for MPs

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis issued a rallying call to his 152 MPs yesterday when he addressed them collectively for the first time since the general election and asked them to actively help the government achieve its reform targets. «Nobody has the right to side with those that are settled in cushy positions,» said Karamanlis as he insisted he would not be deterred by opposition to the government’s reforms. «Nobody has the right to undermine the future of the next generations. The lack of action or total rejection are the most damaging choice for the people because they lead us to a dead end,» the prime minister said a day after the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party rejected an invitation to take part in talks on pension reform. Wary of the slim majority that his government has in the 300-seat Parliament and the fact that New Democracy lost votes in last month’s elections, Karamanlis urged his deputies to support swift action from his ministers. «People have chosen an administration of trust,» said Karamanlis. «We do not have any time to waste and we will not be bowed by the reaction of interest groups… we have to be a strong punch to this country’s problems.» Meanwhile, the New Democracy MPs unanimously voted by voice Piraeus MP Yiannis Tragakis as the new secretary of their parliamentary group.