Syriza shocked by lenders' demands
Reuters news agency quoted Greek lawmakers from the Syriza party as saying the demands put up by creditors as a prerequisite for Athens to get more cash and avoid bankruptcy were "murderous."
Full details of a plan drawn up by European and IMF lenders have yet to emerge after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outlined it to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in late-night talks in Brussels.
But partial components leaked so far contained controversial demands for pension cuts and tax hikes that would force the government to renege on their election promises.
"Juncker took on the dirty work and conveyed the most vulgar, toughest plan when everyone hoped that the deal was closing," deputy parliamentary speaker Alexis Mitropoulos told Mega TV on Thursday.
Syriza officials were particularly upset by a proposal to scrap a benefit for low-income pensioners and a value-added tax change that would raise electricity costs by 10 percent, Reuters reported.
Juncker himself said on Thursday that challenging negotiations with Greece would continue as the southern European eurozone nation kept staring at a Friday deadline for a 300 million euro ($340 million) repayment to the IMF.
Athens has been on the brink of bankruptcy for weeks as worries about the country's fate keep seeing Greeks withdrawing money from banks.
Syriza's angry response to the lenders' demands is bound to increase Tsipras' headache. He has to balance efforts to keep his party together with the need to seal a deal with creditors to unlock an outstanding 7.2 billion euros in bailout loans.
hg/msh (AFP, Reuters)