- Title: GREECE: Lukewarm over programme of new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos
- Date: 16th November 2011
- Summary: MAN LOOKING AT NEWSPAPER HEADLINES HANGING FROM KIOSK NEWSPAPERS HANGING AT KIOSK, LEFT IS ELEFTHEROTYPIA WITH HEADLINE READING: "CARBON COPY OF THE PAST" DEMOCRATIA NEWSPAPER HEADLINE READING: "WHITE COLLAR EXECUTIONER" MORE OF NEWSPAPERS EHTNOS DAILY WITH HEADLINE READING: "START WITH CLEAR WORDS TO ALL"
- Embargoed: 1st December 2011 12:00
- Location: Greece, Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA33YZ3E6VXJHR6MEZY71AFM4CP
- Story Text: Greeks gave a lukewarm but generally positive response on Tuesday (November 15) to the new prime minister's programme which Lucas Papademos laid down on Monday evening at the start of a two-day debate which will culminate in a vote of confidence in parliament.
Greece's conservatives vowed on Monday to reject any new austerity measures proposed in return for the aid that is keeping Athens from bankruptcy, signalling that a new coalition government may not enjoy the kind of cross-party support its lenders demand.
New technocrat Papademos said Greece had no choice but to remain inside the euro zone, telling lawmakers that reforms were the only way to mitigate painful austerity measures which had deepened the recession.
Euro zone leaders are demanding the conservative New Democracy and its two coalition partners - the Socialists and the right-wing LAOS party - sign pledges that they will do what is necessary to make a new, 130 billion euro rescue loan package work.
If they do not, Greece's international lenders have warned they will withhold an 8 billion euro aid tranche which Athens needs to avoid running out of cash next month.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he would not sign any pledge for new belt-tightening.
He has said his party would support all the measures Greece has passed so far to meet the terms of its aid deal, but his support for the three-day old government has been lukewarm. The LAOS party has also objected to any new wage or pension cuts.
Crucially, Samaras said he would not sign a pledge of support for conditions on the new bailout agreement demanded by EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. Those terms have not yet been specified but may require new measures.
His stance suggested a continuation of wrangling between New Democracy and the Socialists of fallen prime minister George Papandreou that last week pushed Greece to the brink and prompted EU peers to consider Greece's exit from the euro.
Some newspapers said the government proposals were not different to those of the outgoing PASOK whilst another referred to the harsh austerity measures that Papademos said must be passed. "Carbon Copy of the Past," read the centre left Eleftherotypia. "White Collar Executioner," said the conservative Democratia.
"In the last year so much has happened. I believe that now Greeks have no idea what tomorrow might bring. Whatever happens we will be here and will do our best," said Nikitas, a lawyer
"Everyone will now fight for the survival of the euro currency with whatever weapons they have. The situation is very difficult and it seems that unless we find a total solution for the euro problem we will have many problems," said Nikos Tomazinakis, a shop owner
"He is excellent and he is well educated in economics. He said what he said in a nice way but he said the same things. The same economic measures in a different way, perhaps better. He reached out to us, but he did not convince us of a better future for wage earners and pensioners," said Despina, a pensioner.
"I believe the prime minister was right to raise these issues which are our priorities. Of course all the political parties need to support him, not only in words but in essence, in order to get off this difficult path," said Dimitris Efstasiadis, another pensioner Papademos urged the parties to commit to implementing the bailout's terms as agreed by euro zone leaders at a meeting last month. He said the interim government would need more than the 100 days to introduce the changes and reforms necessary to pull the country out of debt.
Public sector workers said they would walk out on Tuesday for three hours in protest at the austerity measures.
A march is planned for Wednesday in commemoration a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a 1967-1974 military junta. Recently the march has been the focus of protests against the government and could be a test of the public's support in the interim coalition.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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