PM fails to win consensus

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday sought to put on a brave face after failing to secure the consensus of opposition party leaders about how to deal with impact of the global financial crisis. «Unfortunately I did not see any will for consensus,» Karamanlis said following a full day of talks with the party leaders. «Every party is responsible for its choices and actions. For us, there is no dilemma as we have chosen the road of responsibility,» he added. As expected, the biggest snub came from the leader of main opposition PASOK, whose talks with the premier were said to be tense. Accusing the government of «seeking carte blanche for dead-end policies» and of lacking a plan to tackle the fallout of the global financial crisis, George Papandreou reiterated calls for early elections. «The country needs a genuinely new direction and this means a new government,» he said, remarking that the government’s only plan was «a disposable one – a pre-election strategy.» Karamanlis presented Papandreou, and the other party leaders he met afterward, with a list of six basic «principles» that would form the basis of a dialogue. These include the acknowledgement that Greece is a European Union member and should act within the framework of EU regulations, an emphasis on reducing state debt and boosting crucial sectors such as tourism. Papandreou was unmoved though, accusing the government of »rejecting our proposals for the past five years.» Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, who met with Karamanlis after Papandreou, said the premier’s proposals were unacceptable to her party. «KKE cannot back anti-populist policies and measures,» she said. Alekos Alavanos, who leads the parliamentary group of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), stressed that the crisis demanded «deep-reaching reforms, not superficial proposals» and gave the premier 25 proposals of his own. The leader of right-wing LAOS, Giorgos Karatzaferis, was the only one who appeared to support the premier, saying, «The prime minister is clearly in need of support, proposals, thoughts and ideas.»

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