jeudi 20 octobre 2011

Vaso Papandréou, président du Parlement grec : "Notre société est en désespérance, le pays est en train de s'effondrer"

Day of high drama in parliament

by Costas Papachlimintzos             20 Oct 2011

The drama surrounding the omnibus austerity bill reached its climax, as Prime Minister George Papandreou held on Thursday consecutive meetings with Pasok MPs who have expressed their reluctance to vote the bill.

After her meeting with Papandreou, former labour minister Louka Katseli declined to make any comment. Late in the afternoon, though, she announced that she cannot vote "in good concience" in favour of article 37 of the bill that suspends collective bargaining in the private sector.

Earlier today, Papandreou also met Vaso Papandreou, the chairperson of parliament’s standing committee on economic affairs.

Papandreou, who is no relation to the prime minister, said that tonight will be “the last time” that she will vote for austerity measures.
“Our society is in despair, the country is falling apart,” Papandreou said in a speech to parliament, admitting that Pasok bears “huge responsibility” for the current crisis.

Taking the floor in the parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos noted that “things are as serious as I say they are”, adding that he is neither exaggerating nor bluffing.

Venizelos said that the bill was a “ticket of reliability” for Greece and emphasised that “neither Merkel or Sarkozy will pull a magical solution out of the hat”.

"You have to approve the law, with all its clauses," Venizelos told MPs. "This is not a game. If anybody thinks they can test how much wiggle-room we've have, they're mistaken."

Outside parliament, tens of thousands of protesters have gathered, in a demonstration turned violent shortly after 2.30pm.

MPs are expected to give a final green light to the new belt-tightening law required by the European Union and International Monetary Fund after a first reading on Wednesday, when protesters pelted police with petrol bombs and chunks of marble, in the biggest labour action the country has witnessed in years.
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