Politics: PM insists on need for national consensus

Prime Minister George Papandreou, addressing a cabinet meeting on Thursday, which unanimously ratified the mid-term fiscal restructuring programme, said that the government's handling of the Medium-Term fiscal strategy programme and the Memorandum "are not combined with a referendum".

Papandreou added that self-evident dilemmas are never provided for a referendum, but reminded that he has committed himself on the tabling of a law governing referendums so that it will be ready whenever needed.

He told ministers that it is his steadfast position for the citizen to be given a say "whenever necessary" and in any case he implemented it in 2004 with the election of PASOK president by the grassroots.

He also told ministers that for this reason he has requested from Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis to proceed with the preparation of the law, a draft plan of which will be given to the ministers for discussion.

Papandreou further said that the coming days and weeks are crucial, adding "we shall do our duty," while stressing that sending a strong message of unity is of a determining character.

 "For this reason," the prime minister went on to say, "I insist on the need for national consensus", adding that he will insist on the ratification of the Memo-randum by a broader parliamentary majority.
From the tabling of the plan  until its ratification there shall be a dialogue and coooperation invitation to the forces that have the will, in the framework of the parliamentary dialogue process, he added.
Papandreou said that provided there is agreement with main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras on the targets, then on his part there is no taboo on finding ways of achieving the targets.
The prime minister said the citizens are expressing justified indignation with all that they have experienced for 35 years and stressed that they want to see something better.
Papandreou further pointed out that there must be a discussion with the citizens and an explanation of the government's effort "far from populism and  the disinformation of the media."
Papandreou reiterated that he is loyal to the need for national consensus. He also rejected scenarios on the imposition of national consensus from abroad.
He said "there is no outside imposition for consensus" and added that "the handling of the dangers threatening our country is a national duty that goes beyond the parties and party divisions."
Papandreou stressed once again that "we are at a decisive crossroads" and that "a difficult negotiation is under way." He stressed that "it is not only the issue of the country's borrowing, meaning when it will go into the markets, it is above all the country's change, to change the system that brought us here."
The prime minister further said "when we go into the markets again we must utilise this money of the Greek people, for the Greek people, to manage it effectively and with transparency."
Referring to the mobilisations of the past days, the prime minister said that "it is our duty to talk with the citizens, to explain the reality that we have been called on to manage, dissolving the clouds of populism, whether they come from the media" or from other voices.
Papandreou also referred to the issue of tax evasion that he termed a huge problem for the country and the Greek people and added that negotiating with Switzerland is proceeding and "very soon we shall be able to check Greeks who have tax evaded."

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