*Greek Prime Minister’s majority cut to one ahead of crucial IMF and EU austerity vote in parliament on Wednesday
*Rejection of austerity package will lead to a default by Greece and eurozone exit
*Greece is set to spend 131 billion euros on interest payments to banks between 2009 and 2014 according to IMF
*Germany’s Die Welt says Germans would rise up in rebellion if they had to accept equivalent austerity measures
*Protests and strikes intensify in Athens ahead of historical vote on Wednesday that could spell the end of the euro currency
Four Greek lawmakers from the ruling PASOK party have indicated they will vote against the new EU and IMF austerity package in parliament on Wednesday. If the Greek parliament votes against the legislation, it would pave the way for Greece to default on its debt to foreign banks and exit the eurozone in an historic victory for democracy.
Greece is set to pay a staggering €131bn in refinancing and interest payments to American, German and French banks between 2009 and 2014 , the IMF has estimated.
Prime Minister George Papandreou’s socialist PASOK party has a slim majority of only 155 deputies in the 300-member parliament. The defections of any more lawmakers may mean the government not be able to pass the new austerity measures and an implementation law on Wednesday and Thursday, which the EU, IMF and ECB are insisting on to enable the next interest payments to be made to banks on time.
The main opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, has said the austerity measures are a “medicine that is worse than the sickness they are meant to cure” and that he will not vote for them.
The draconian package of latest tax hikes and budget cuts include measures forcing people earning as little as 8000 euros a year to pay 10% in taxes to help the government meet the multi-billion euro interest payments to banks while universities close due to funding cuts. Read the rest of this entry »