ATHENS (MNI) – Members of parliament from Greece’s ruling Socialist
party have put a brake on a potential new aid package for the country,
threatening to oppose new deficit-cutting measures if the government
tries to put them on a fast-track without first consulting its own MPs.

The government is currently working with officials from the
European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European
Central Bank on a package of new measures to be implemented in exchange
for new aid of around E60 billion to help Greece meet financing
obligations falling due in 2012 and 2013.

The contemplated new measures include another round of job cuts in
the public sector and an expedited privatization of state assets, which
is being strongly urged by the Commission, the IMF and the ECB.

In a letter to Prime Minister George Papandreou, reported Thursday
in the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, 16 parliamentary members belonging
to Papandreou’s own party demanded to be briefed about the ongoing
negotiations and requested a meeting of the party’s economic and
parliamentary commitees discuss all aspects of the plan before the
government tries to present it for a vote in parliament.

The MPs suggest that should the government try to pass the measures
on an “emergency vote,” as it has done with the previous rounds of
measures, they would vote against it, the newspaper reported.

Their demands could be a problem for the government, which is under
extreme pressure for quick approval of measures not only from the
so-called troika — the Commission, IMF and ECB — but also, and even
more so, from financial markets.

“We shouldn’t be called once again at the last minute for an
emergency vote regarding a new plan, when we know that the first one has
failed,” Panayotis Kouroumplis, one of the MPs who co-signed the letter,
was quoted as saying.

The letter declared: “Today’s unprecedented crisis calls for a
national, united, serious and responsible front. A year ago we embarked
on a big effort with painful sacrifices. Nobody would have thought that
these sacrifices would not bring the expected results. But a year later
we find ourselves in the same crucial situation. Why?”

It went on to cite, “widespread concern that the vote on a [new]
medium-term plan will be called as an emergency vote, while the same
tactics seem to be implemented regarding the vote on our national
resources and privatizations.”

The letter implied there may be some constitutional problems with
what the government is planning to accept from the outside institutions
that are providing the aid.

“These are decisions that will determine Greece’s future for
decades to come and can only be taken with the utmost respect for our
democratic constitution,” the MPs wrote.

–Angelika Papamiltiadou;

[TOPICS: M$$CR$,MGX$$$,M$X$$$,MT$$$$,M$$EC$]