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Greek Prime Minister Vows To Push Through Austerity Deal

Greek demonstrators burn a German flag while trying to enter the parliament during an antiausterity protest in Athens.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos says he is determined to push through a new austerity package, despite political turmoil.

In televised comments on February 10, Papademos said that Greece must do "whatever it takes" to approve the latest cost-cutting reforms demanded by international creditors and avoid going bankrupt.

He said cabinet ministers who disagree have no place in the coalition government.

Greece will face default within weeks if it fails to secure a 130-billion-euro ($170 billion) bailout from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Papademos said a disorderly default would "create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion."

The Greek cabinet passed a draft bill on the austerity measures late February 10 and sent it to parliament.

The Greek parliament is to vote on the latest austerity package on February 12.

A total of five cabinet ministers and deputy ministers have submitted their resignations in the past two days over the proposed austerity measures.

Most of those who quit are members of the far-right Laos party, but dissenters also include a deputy foreign minister from Pasok, the largest party in the coalition.

Supporters Likely To Have Parliamentary Majority

The Laos party said Greece was being humiliated by Germany, the largest contributor to the international bailout, and threatened that its 15 deputies will not back the austerity package in parliament on February 12.

The measures are still expected to pass as Pasok and the other coalition partner, the New Democracy party, hold a majority.

Earlier on February 10, protesters clashed with police outside the parliament building in Athens.

Protesters threw stones and petrol bombs at police who fired tear gas. No major injuries were reported.

On February 9, the Greek government presented their plans for cost-cutting reforms at a eurozone finance ministers' meeting in Brussels.

But the EU ministers demanded further cuts as well as more political assurances that the measures will be implemented.

The EU ministers said Greece has to fulfill the conditions by February 15 if the bailout is to be approved at the next eurozone meeting.

The proposed reforms include cuts in pensions and wages as well as jobs losses.

Greece has been falling deeper and deeper into recession, with an unemployment rate currently at over 20 percent, since it was rescued by a first bailout deal in May 2010.

There are fears that a Greek default would threaten other indebted countries among the 17 members of the eurozone, and would undermine Europe's financial stability as well as financial stability worldwide.

Compiled from agency reports

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