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NEWS: Snap election to take place in Greece, May 6

A protest against the sale of water utilities in Greece

A protest against the sale of water utilities in Greece

Reuters reports, “Greece called a snap election for next month (May 6), launching a campaign that may produce no clear winner and threaten implementation of the international bailout plan…”

“The conservative New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK parties – which backed the (prime minister Lucas) Papademos government – have lost public support for endorsing the bailout plan, and may not win enough votes to form a new coalition (although this is still considered the most likely outcome). …Opinion polls show that small parties which oppose the steep wage and pension cuts imposed by the EU and IMF in return for aid are gaining ground. …Recent polls show the (conservative) New Democracy party would win between 18 and 25 per cent of the vote, ahead of (the socialist) PASOK’s 11 to 16 per cent…”

“Both New Democracy and PASOK back EU/IMF reforms such as opening up of closed professions, slashing the public sector workforce by a fifth and cutting pensions (privatized water utilities and opened the country to metal mining), but (conservative New Democracy leader Antoni) Samaras said he would renegotiate some parts of the plan.”

While challenging the World Water Forum in Marseille, France, the Blue Planet Project met with Greek water justice activists Arhontopoulus Georgios and Alexandros Kastrinakis of the Initiative 136 movement. It is expected that the call for the austerity measure-instigated public tender for the full-privatization of EYDAP and EYATH, the Athens and Thessaloniki water and sewage companies, will take place in May and that the companies will be sold by September. Initiative 136 is seeking to stop the sale of the utilities and, if that fails, develop a plan for a cooperative, non-profit, social management of the utilities.

For more on the impacts of austerity measures and water privatization on the human right to water in Greece (as well as Portgual, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria), please see the ‘Europe’ report by the Blue Planet Project, Food and Water Watch, the European Federation of Public Service Unions and Public Services International Research Unit, http://canadians.org/RTW.

The Council of Canadians and the Blue Planet Project stand in solidarity with this water justice movement in Greece, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14187, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14516 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14295.