Party leaders go to PM in last-ditch bid for deal

The leaders of the three parties in the coalition government arrived at the Maximos Mansion shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon to meet Prime Minister Lucas Papademos in a last-ditch bid to reach a consensus on a second bailout for Greece.

As pressure mounts from creditor states for Greek politicians to align behind a new set of austerity measures and reforms aimed at getting the country back on the road to fiscal health, the leaders of PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and the head of Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) Giorgos Karatzaferis have been examining the text of an outline agreement for a new bailout -- with details of all the new measures.

The lengthy document, which sets out the reforms and fiscal targets the leaders will have to agree to to clinch a 130-billion-euro bailout, has reportedly provoked reactions in the ranks of all three parties.

ND leader Antonis Samaras reportedly continues to object to planned cuts to auxiliary pensions while LAOS leader Giorgos Karatzaferis is said to have asked for legal advice from the Supreme Court and Council of State on whether some of the measures in the agreement are in line with the Greek constitution.

One of the most controversial measures proposed in the draft is a 22 percent reduction to the minimum wage of 751 euros per month, which may be passed on to private sector employees who earn more than this amount.

Cuts to auxiliary pensions are another thorny issue.

If the party leaders agree on Wednesday, then the troika officials are likely to hold talks with each of them individually to obtain their explicit commitment to the measures. It was not clear if this would involve written guarantees.

The new loan agreement would be submitted to Parliament on Friday and voted on two days later. According to sources, it will be submitted as a single amendment and the laws enforcing its various parts would be voted on in due course.

The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers is due to meet on Thursday to assess any potential agreement in Greece. Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker suggested that this meeting could be delayed, depending on developments in Greece.

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