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PM in televised plea to parliament ahead of budget vote
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos (pictured) said in a televised address Saturday that the parliament faced an "historic responsibility" Sunday in voting on austerity measures crucial for a 130 bn EUR bailout from the IMF and the EU.
AFP - Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos called on parliament to assume a "historic responsibility" in a televised address Saturday on the eve of a crucial vote on fresh austerity measures.
"The Greek parliament is asked to take a historic responsibility, examine and authorize the new economic programme of Greece, the pre-condition for financing the country over the coming years," he said.
He acknowledged that this new round of cuts would heap further hardship on the country -- but the alternative, a default on the country's massive debt, was much worse, he warned.
"The social cost of this programme is limited in comparison with the economic and social catastrophe that would follow if we did not adopt it," he said.
He dismissed as demagoguery talk of choosing a default which, he said, would sooner or later have led to an exit from the euro.
"An uncontrolled bankruptcy would have thrown the country into a catastrophic adventure, it would have created uncontrollable economic chaos and social upheaval," he said.
If Greece had implemented reforms when the situation was not at such a critical stage, the country would not be in the crisis it found itself in today, he added.
Papademos' televised address, in front of both the Greek and European flags, was a call to arms ahead of a parliamentary vote Sunday to approve the government package of cuts.
Papademos finally got the ruling coalition to agree on fresh cuts demanded by the EU and IMF in return for a 130-billion-euro ($171 billion) rescue package, after talks that lasted into early Saturday morning.
But it cost him the support of the far-right LAOS and its 16 deputies. Four LAOS deputies quit the ruling coalition, together with two socialist junior ministers, though the socialist PASOK party itself remains on board.
On paper, though, the ruling coalition still has enough votes to push the package through.