Samaras blasts ND defectors, Bakoyannis

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras yesterday launched a stark attack on deputies who have quit or are thinking of quitting the conservative party, labeling them «cowards» and accusing former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis of providing succor to an ineffective government through her new political grouping. Speaking to his parliamentary group after the departure of two MPs this week, taking the total of deputies that have left or been ousted from ND since May to five, Samaras accused the outcasts of having been «stowaways» in ND who are now looking to halt the party’s rise after its disastrous showing in last year’s general elections by backing up the government instead. «It is ridiculous, at a time when government ministers are starting to recognize that the country is at a dead end, that some people are rushing to help out,» he said. «Some people want to strengthen the coalition of the willing even though others who supported the [EU-IMF] memorandum are now beginning to regret their decision.» Samaras also accused Bakoyannis, who formed the centrist Democratic Alliance on Sunday, of providing moral support to the government in its bid to implement the austerity measures prescribed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as part of the emergency loan agreement. «Those who create a new party to supposedly express the will of society while rushing to support the policies of the memorandum have clearly not understood what is going on around them,» the ND leader told his deputies. Samaras also had harsh words for the government, accusing it of adopting the wrong economic policies and of being reluctant to trim the bloated public sector. «Populism is in PASOK’s DNA,» he said. «The reforms are stalling not because New Democracy is obstructing them, but because PASOK is unwilling to demolish everything that it built.» Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis responded by accusing Samaras of proposing «magic solutions» to restore the economy. The government said yesterday that it was beginning the process of transferring employees from prefectures to municipalities. It added that it would present its plan to cut waste at the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) in two weeks.