11 February 2012 Last updated at 16:48 ET Mr Papademos said the measures would enable Greece to stay in the euro
The Greek PM has warned the nation of a collapse in living standards if MPs fail to pass an unpopular austerity bill demanded in return for a 130bn-euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout.
In a TV address, Lucas Papademos said Greece was "just a breath away from Ground Zero".
The cabinet has approved the measures but five government ministers resigned.
Unions are holding a 48-hour strike, and thousands of protesters rallied in central Athens against the measures.
Riot police were on standby after clashes on Friday, but the demonstrations were mostly peaceful.
The austerity measures are being demanded by the eurozone and IMF - they must now be passed by the Greek parliament and approved by European finance ministers.
Some MPs from the governing parties are expected to vote against the bill, the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens reports.
But analysts say the package should still have enough support in parliament, because Pasok, the largest party, and its coalition ally New Democracy account for more than 230 deputies out of a total of 300.
Catastrophe fear Mr Papademos said the measures would "decide the country's future" and enable it to stay inside the euro.
Continue reading the main story "The social cost of this programme is limited in comparison with the economic and social catastrophe that would follow if we didn't adopt it," he said.
Savings would be lost, the government would be unable to pay wages or salaries, and imports of fuel, medicine and machinery would be disrupted, he added.
Earlier, Greek conservative leader Antonis Samaras said all his party's MPs must vote in favour of the bailout law.
Mr Samaras, whose New Democracy party is a member of the governing coalition, said any rebels would face being dropped as parliamentary candidates.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, who quit on Friday afternoon, is the most senior defection so far.
Her Pasok party, the largest in the coalition, also suffered the loss of a deputy labour minister on Thursday.
The austerity cuts include:
- 15,000 public-sector job cuts
- liberalisation of labour laws
- lowering the minimum wage by 20% from 751 euros a month to 600 euros
- negotiating a debt write-off with banks.
These were presented to a eurozone ministers in Brussels on Thursday evening.
But they want a further 325m euros in savings for this year and also insist that Greek leaders give "strong political assurances" on the implementation of the packages.
Article Source : BBC News
Similar Newsgab Articles: