Greek parties meet deal with mix of relief, anger and concern

PASOK chief George Papandreou and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras of the Greek interim government under Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Tuesday expressed satisfaction at the 130-billion-euro bailout agreement hammered out for Greece between eurozone finance ministers in a marathon session that began on Monday afternoon and ended in the early hours of Tuesday. Papandreou expressed “satisfaction” with the deal, saying that it that “the sacrifices of the Greek people not only will not be in vain, but will begin to bear fruit.” On the issue of private sector involvement (PSI) in a writedown of Greek debt, in which bondholders agreed to a 53.5 percent haircut instead of the originally proposed 50 percent, Papandreou said that “it will contribute toward several billions euros of saving a year thanks to the reduction in the annual requirements for servicing our debt, and with these funds we can now put together a plan for growth.” Samaras, who is pegged to lead in snap elections scheduled for some time in April, hailed the Eurogroup’s decision as “important and positive,” saying that “it pushes away the risk of bankruptcy, ensures our European prospects, makes it possible for the debt to become sustainable and paves the way for elections.” The New Democracy chief was speaking from Nicosia, where he is on an official visit. Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga defined the deal as one for the “orderly default of the country and the disorderly default of society,” saying that it is nothing more than a temporary solution for Greece, as the crisis, which continues to deepen, will “ultimately determine developments in the eurozone.” The far-right Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, which departed from the unity government prior to a February 12 vote in Parliament on the controversial bill outlining the austerity measures Greece has adopted in order to receive the latest bailout loan, dismissed the deal as ineffective, with party leader Giorgos Karatzaferis telling Real FM radio “we have been internationally humiliated and we will not be able to return to the markets until 2020.” Alexis Tsipras, head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) said “it is clear that this agreement exclusively concerns and binds those who signed it,” adding that “it is not signed by the Greek people. It is signed by a government acting in its name that has no legitimacy.” “Europe, though belatedly, did its duty yesterday,” said Dora Bakoyannis of the centrist Democratic Alliance. Speaking on Skai Television on Tuesday morning, Fotis Kouvelis, head of the Democratic Left, expressed fears about the efficacy of the deal, which, he said, completely ignores the country’s growth prospects.

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