PASOK rifts open over university bill

A bill paving the way for the government to close down dozens of universities as a way of reducing public spending caused rifts within socialist PASOK on Tuesday when a parliamentary committee convened to debate the draft legislation. Former health minister Andreas Loverdos boycotted the session but in a letter sent to MPs he called for the new bill to be revoked or voted down. In his letter, Loverdos called the new bill «anti-educational» and said that it violated democratic legislative procedures. In an apparent dig at the envoys representing Greece's so-called troika of international lenders, Loverdos claimed that the government had been replaced by a «three-member management team."

Meanwhile a dispute between PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and former education minister Anna Diamantopoulou appeared to intensify.

Responding to the latter's claim that withdrawing the bill voted through Parliament last summer constituted «an insult to democracy,» Venizelos remarked that he hoped noone regarded Greece's request for a revision of the terms of its debt deal as an insult to democracy. Diamantopoulou reportedly retorted that «irony points to weak arguments."


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