PASOK’s censure card

PASOK leader George Papandreou attempted yesterday to increase the pressure on the government by proposing a vote of no confidence in a move that the ruling conservatives feel will backfire on the opposition party. MPs were due to vote on the pension reforms bill for a final time yesterday but Papandreou put pay to that by submitting a censure motion, which means that Parliament will debate this issue until midnight tomorrow when a vote will be held. The pensions bill is likely to come back on the agenda in the House next week. «Enough is enough,» said Papandreou, accusing New Democracy of doing little for the Greek people since its re-election on September 16 last year. The government responded immediately through Culture Minister Michalis Liapis by accusing PASOK of simply trailing behind the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which last week proposed a referendum on the bill. «We do not care if we are trailing behind someone, but we do not want Greece to trail behind the European Union in economic and social policy,» replied Papandreou. The motion is unlikely to be carried as the government has 151 MPs in the 300-seat Parliament as well as the support of independent deputy Costas Koukodimos. PASOK would need to garner 151 votes to succeed in its efforts. Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia declared Papandreou’s move «a gift» for the government, which intends to use the parliamentary sessions today and tomorrow to highlight the further reforms that it is planning. The leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis, accused PASOK of jumping the gun and offering the government an easy ride for the next six months as the opposition is only allowed to submit a censure motion every six months. PASOK, however, will be hoping that the next few days will see more industrial action in opposition to the pension reforms. Bank of Greece workers declared a 24-hour strike for today and the Athens Bar Association said that lawyers would stay away from work on Monday and Tuesday next week.

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