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Socialist leader urges vote for austerity measures
Socialist leader Papandreou says alternative to austerity measures would be a 'catastrophe'
By The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) ' Lawmakers from two parties backing Greece's coalition government are meeting to consider support for legislation containing new austerity measures in the wake of six resignations from the cabinet and the withdrawal of a small right-wing party from the coalition.

Socialist leader George Papandreou has urged his deputies to back the legislation, saying that this is the only real option for the country, which, he says, faces disaster if a new bailout deal worth euro130 billion ($171.6 billion) falls through.

Conservative lawmakers have just started their meeting.

Debate on the legislation and a debt-swapping deal with private creditors begins Saturday. A plenary session will debate and vote on it Sunday in the face of planned protests.

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