New Democracy-PASOK Feud Grows

ATHENS – Mouthpieces for Greece’s coalition government, New Democracy’s Adonis Georgiadis and PASOK’s Dimitris Karydis, have swapped shots at each other over lagging reforms.

Georgiadis, who is the parliamentary spokesman for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ ruling party, blamed the Socialists for thwarting progress on tough new conditions being demanded by the country’s lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).

Karydis, PASOK’s spokesman, accused Georgiadis of calling on the government “to pull its pants down” to the Troika, which is pushing for more austerity measures that Samaras wants to avoid.

Karydis was responding to Georgiadis comments on Mega TV in which the New Democracy official blamed PASOK for a holdup in reaching agreement with the Troika.

“For six months we have not voted on a single term outlined in the memorandum,” Georgiadis said. “The Troika is taking advantage of this political turmoil to put pressure on the government,” he added.

Karydis snapped back. “New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman, Mr Georgiadis, appears on television as a self-appointed defender of the Troika, accusing PASOK because it is reacting to the reduction of pensions, the deregulation of mass dismissals and the increase of value-added tax on foodstuffs.”

His statement added: “Mr Georgiadis is asking us to pull our pants down to irrational demands. Someone in his party needs to rein him in because he is directly undermining negotiations with our creditors. Is he speaking on behalf of New Democracy or the Troika?”

PASOK, which won the 2009 elections with 44 percent of the vote, has taken a big hit for supporting big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings to be part of Samaras’ coalition and has fallen to around 3-5 percent in polls.