Greece’s Opposition Party to Vote Against Austerity Measures

Antonis Samaras, the leader of  Nea Demokratia [ND], Greece’s conservative main opposition party, made his most outspoken attack yet against a bill containing the government’s latest austerity measures, labeling them an “asphyxiating mixture” of policies.

Kathemerini sources said that the conservatives [Nea Demokratia] will only back certain articles of the draft law when it is voted on in Parliament today…Samaras [announced] he would not cut civil servants’ pay but would instead increase taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and fuel while also cutting back on the operational costs of the public sector.

He criticized PASOK for not taking measures earlier and admitted that ND had made mistakes when it was in government but underlined that the party is now under new leadership.

The Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreu responded to ND’s criticism by reminding people that his party (PASOK) inherited the country’s fiscal problems from a conservative government.

“It is a bit late now for New Democracy to give us economics lessons,” said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis.

Petalotis also dismissed as “not worthy of comment” suggestions by two members of Germany’s ruling center-right coalition that Greece sell some islands to pay off its debt. Prime Minister George Papandreou is due in Berlin today for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

ND’s new position formally puts an end to a brief period of consensus with PASOK, the paper said.

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