Mixed reactions by parties

News of the Eurogroup decision the previous evening to extend the loan repayment period for Greece's EC-ECB-IMF bailout as well as to cut one percentage point off the interest rate on the 110-billion-euro package received a mixed response by Greece's main opposition parties on Saturday.

A main opposition New Democracy (ND) official, MP Christos Staikouras, referred to a "significant decision for Europe, with positive repercussions for Greece", while noting that many of the decisions were proposals by ND.

Conversely, on the other side of the political spectrum, Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga dismissed what she called a "reactionary agreement", which she claimed will lead to new and harsher austerity measures. She also stepped up criticism by charging that PM George Papandreou was "lying" about the contents of the exact agreement.

On his part, right-of-centre Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party president George Karatzaferis praised the development.

"We may not have achieved the maximum of our goals in this Europe (combination), but we did gain a great deal more that the pessimists expected. The issue now is who will manage this new opportunity, which was handed to us. Obviously, the backbone of this (Greek) government, which has failed miserably during the first 10 months of the Memorandum, cannot serve as the best guarantee for the future of Greece," he said.

In a negative tone, the leader of the leftist SYRIZA grouping, Alexis Tsipras, charged that the extension of the repayment period came at the expense of the "sell-off" of state property and a new Memorandum and burdens for the Greek people.

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