Gree Parliament ratified, late Tuesday night, a bill envisioning cuts in various primary and supplementary pensions, at the end of a relevant debate.
Out of the 283 deputies, 202 voted in favour of the bill, 80 against and one deputy voted present. 283 deputies in the 300-member chamber participated in the vote.
Voting in favour of the bill were New Democracy (ND) and PASOK parties, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and various independent deputies voted against.
The bill is part of a set of commitments undertaken by the Greek government as part of the second Memorandum.
New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during debate on a closely watched draft bill regarding pension cuts, urged for an “end to the ‘miserable chapter’ of the past two-and-a-half-years and an open path for a popular mandate with elections.”
Samaras again stepped up his sharp criticism of both PASOK party and the leftist parties, saying that “we are not all the same”. He also sent a message to expelled ND deputies, defending his support of the latest bailout package.
He stressed the need for a government with heightened self-sufficiency, one which will proceed with radical changes and reforms that the country demands.
“We will take out, once and for all, the image of Greece in crisis and bring it to the front line of the struggle for the recovery of all Europe.”
At the same time, he defended his party’s strategic option to participate in the Papademos government and support the new loan contract, replying to criticism against him over the decision, noting the completely different circumstances of May 2010 with the current one, as he said.
He pointed out that with the current Memorandum agreement the country’s debt is being given a “haircut”, and the repayment period is being extended, something that reduces the risk of a eurozone exit and Greece’s abandonment by its partners.
Government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking in Parliament during the after the address by New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, attributed to him an “ungracious and fruitless effort for continous differentiation that leads nowhere.”
Venizelos also termed the “proposal” by the Left “gloomy” and appealed to the citizens that “it is they who listen, evaluate and choose and who, although inconvenienced, will choose correctly.”
Venizelos accused Samaras of being “the main representative of ambiguity” saying that he made two changes in his strategy, “he adopted the policy of PASOK and now he is turning, at last, to the Left with which he sailed together in his myopic criticism against the memorandum.”
Venizelos further said “the ND president is not convincing. The deepest reason that our partners are doubtful is because they do not have confidence in what Mr. Samaras and ND say. The continuous backtrackings, the uncertainty and the change in strategy cannot secure the country’s course.”
Lastly, Venizelos made it clear that things are and shall be difficult. “Now we are obtaining on the one hand a secure framework but what is necessary is work, responsibility, seriousness, truth and consensus.”
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing a party rally in a convention centre in the city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday, stressed that “if the people do not intimidate them, with a strong KKE, then the things will get worse” and claimed that the country’s new loan contract includes debts and commitments for the next 30 years.
Referring to the EC/ECB/IMF troika, Papariga said it is attempting to intimidate the Greek people, whom she called on to observe such a stance in the Parliamentary elections that the New Democracy (ND) and PASOK parties lose as much as they can and to say no to “disguises.”
Papariga called on voters to back KKE, adopting its proposal for disengagement from the European Union, with a write off of the debt.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday criticized the two mainstream parties.
“You will find in the ballot box what you are voting for today. On the night of the elections PASOK and (New Democracy) ND will be obliged to apologize to the Greek people for the state to which they have led the country,” Karatzaferis said.