Greece warns bailout rebels of disaster

Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:07pm EST
 
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By Harry Papachristou and Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told lawmakers to back a deeply unpopular EU/IMF rescue in a vote on Sunday or condemn the country to a "vortex" of recession.

He spoke in a televised address to the nation, ahead of Sunday's vote on 3.3 billion euros ($4.35 billions) in wage, pension and job cuts as the price of a 130-billion-euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The effort to ease Greece's huge debt burden has brought thousands into the streets in protest, and there were signs on Saturday of a small rebellion among lawmakers uneasy with the extent of the cuts.

Papademos said parliament had a historic responsibility to back the bill, or face catastrophic consequences if Greece misses a March 20 deadline to service its debt.

"A disorderly default would set the country on a disastrous adventure," he said. "It would create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion."

"The country would be drawn into a vortex of recession, instability, unemployment and protracted misery and this would sooner or later lead the country out of the euro."

Parliament's finance committee approved the bill on Saturday, and a full vote in the chamber is expected late on Sunday.

The Papademos coalition has a huge majority, which should ensure parliament approves the package needed to secure Greece's second bailout since 2010.   Continued...

 
<p>Medics try to help an anti-austerity protester, who lies unconscious after he was injured by police, in front of the parliament in Athens February 11, 2012, during a demonstration on the second day of a 48-hour strike by Greek workers unions. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis</p>