PASOK is set to go it alone

The bill containing the extensive range of austerity measures that Greece has agreed to undertake in order to qualify for a 110-billion-euro bailout was tabled in Parliament yesterday, while it looks increasingly likely that it will be voted into law only by deputies of the ruling PASOK party. There were more rumblings from within the Socialist ranks as it became clear the draft law contains even tougher measures than those that have been announced so far. However, there is no indication that any PASOK deputies will consider voting against the legislation tomorrow. The government has asked for a simple majority to be enough in this case to pass the bill and since it holds 160 of the 300 seats in the House, there should be no question of the measures not receiving the necessary votes. It appears, however, that New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has decided his party should vote against the draft law. Sources said that should Samaras stick with this option then it could lead to a rift within his party. Former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who lost out to Samaras in a leadership election last November, has already said that it is ND’s duty as a liberal party to support the measures. Bakoyannis and Samaras fell out recently and if she decides not to toe the party line, it could lead to her being ousted. The Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) have made it clear there is no way they will support the measures but the position of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) remains unclear. The party’s leader Giorgos Karatzaferis had suggested recently that his party might vote in favor of the package but he said yesterday that any good will had been eroded by Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision not to consult the other political leaders about the austerity measures before announcing them publicly. Karatzaferis, however, did not state clearly how his party’s 15 MPs would vote.

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