It’s kind of difficult to catch up with the Greek politics and economy after a week’s summer break. While I was away, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras returned to office after the eye surgery recovery and read the government programme at the Greek Parliament.
On Friday Samaras revealed nine steps that would take Greece out of the crisis and provide some relief to debt- and tax-ridden Greeks. Priority would be given to privatization of state assets and merging of state bodies. Measures to increase liquidity and return of money withdrawn from the banks.
Among others, he also announced changes in the politics like to investigate MPs’ assets since 1974, confiscation of ‘suspect’ assets, changes in the law about ministers’ responsibility and MPs’ immunity, some cuts in the MPs’ benefits.
On Saturday new Greek finance minister Yiannis Stournaras pledged to carry out the structural reforms and the privatizations demanded by the Troika and reiterated the government’s plan to ask Greece’s lenders for an additional two years to implement deficit cutting measures.
He also warned of a tough road ahead in convincing the so-called troika of European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank lenders to give Greece more time and money, citing a deeper-than-expected recession.
The announcement of the government programme triggered a heated debate. Main opposition leader of left-wing SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, accused the government of selling off state assets “like a real estate agent.”
“The government will have to account for its actions, the looting of public goods,” Tsipras said, accusing Samaras and his ministers of reneging on an electoral promise to revisit the bailout agreement.
Samaras’ coalition government is to seek vote of confidence on Sunday midnight. With a total of 179 seats in the parliament, the government consisting of conservative Nea Dimocratia, socialist PASOK and Democratic Left, it is sure the vote of confidence will be won.
PS Otherwise they could all turn into pumpkins – Midnight sharp…