Greece’s PM George Papandreou is set
to face a crucial no-confidence vote, with the outcome on a knife-edge.
Mr Papandreou shocked EU partners and sent markets into turmoil after calling
for a referendum on a hard-fought EU deal to bail out debt-ridden Greece.
The finance minister said on Friday the referendum had now been scrapped, but
even if the PM wins he faces an unclear future, amid new calls to resign.
The developments have overshadowed a key G20 meeting in Cannes.
Eurozone leaders fear that failure to solve the Greek debt crisis could risk
it spreading to other vulnerable economies, particularly Italy.
Germany had said a referendum would essentially be a vote on whether Greece
wanted to be part of the EU and that the stability of the eurozone was more
important than Greek membership.
Motives questionedThe figures in the Greek parliament reveal Mr Papandreou’s vulnerability.
After fighting calls for his resignation, George Papandreou now faces his
next big test: a confidence vote in parliament this evening. It could be tight –
very tight. He has a parliamentary majority of just two.
A handful of his MPs had threatened to vote against him if he pursued a
referendum on last week’s debt deal for Greece. But Elena Panaritis – one of the
MPs planning to rebel – told me she would now support the prime minister
because, in her view, the referendum will not take place.
If Mr Papandreou’s other dissident MPs follow suit, he could scrape through.
Many, though, are speculating that he would still seek to form a national unity
government afterwards, possibly to make a dignified exit. But with the
opposition leader calling for Mr Papandreou’s resignation, any new coalition
would presumably need to have another leader at the helm.
His governing Socialist party (Pasok) holds a tiny
majority – 152 out of 300 seats.
A handful of his MPs had indicated they would refuse to back him in the
confidence vote, which is expected late on Friday, possibly around 22:00
However, the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens says there are suggestions some
potential rebel MPs will now support Mr Papandreou after the possibility of a
The vote is timed to take place when the markets in Europe and the US are
closed, such is the sensitivity of the issue.
There had been serious divisions in Pasok on the referendum, with Finance
Minister Evangelos Venizelos insisting it should not be held.
He told European partners on Friday that Greece had officially scrapped the
Mr Venizelos said he had informed EU Economic and Monetary Affairs
Commissioner Olli Rehn, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and eurozone
chairman Jean-Claude Juncker of the decision.
Mr Papandreou had earlier said the referendum was never an end in itself, and
there were two other choices – an election, which he said would bankrupt the
country, or a consensus in parliament.
I believe that all the problems will be
He called for talks with the opposition on a coalition
The strategy of the main opposition New Democracy is unclear.
Its leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday led his MPs in a dramatic walkout of
parliament and called for snap elections.
Mr Samaras questioned the motives behind Mr Papandreou’s actions.
“I am wondering; Mr Papandreou almost destroyed Greece and Europe, the euro,
the international stock markets, his own party in order to ensure what? So that
he could blackmail me and the Greek public? Or to ensure what I had already said
several days ago; that I accept the bailout agreement as unavoidable?”
New Democracy MP Simos Kedikoglou told the BBC’s World Today programme that
while it backed adopting the bailout, that did not mean it supported Mr
Papandreou remaining prime minister.
So even if Mr Papandreou survives, speculation will mount about his
Government sources told Reuters news agency that Mr Papandreou had agreed at
a cabinet meeting on Thursday to stand down once he had negotiated a coalition
with the opposition.
// Greek housewife Ilia Iatrou: “We’ve stopped buying fresh milk
because we cannot afford it”
One source said: “He was told that he must leave calmly in order to save his
party. He agreed to step down. It was very civilised, with no acrimony.”
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos wrote on his blog on Friday that it was
“inconceivable” that the government should win the confidence vote “and then
pretend that nothing had happened”.
“Unless immediate steps are taken toward the formation of a national unity
government, I will no longer wish to take part in that political process,” he
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the BBC’s Today
programme he expected a government of national unity to be formed and that the
economic problems “will be solved”.
pollThe G20 is meeting for a second and final day in Cannes.
UK Finance Minister George Osborne said that it was important for the world
to be prepared for whatever happened in Greece.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy said leaders had agreed to increase the
firepower of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but gave no specifics on the
At the end of the first day, the French host, President Nicolas Sarkozy, said
France and Germany had helped Greek politicians focus on what was at stake.
Mr Papandreou had been summoned for urgent talks at the G20 on Wednesday,
where he was told that any referendum would turn on the question of whether
Greece wanted to stay in the eurozone.
The next tranche of Greece’s existing bailout was also put on hold.
Without the bailout funds, Greece will probably go bankrupt before the end of
The EU bailout deal, agreed last month, would give the heavily indebted Greek
government 130bn euros (£111bn; $178bn) and it imposes a 50% write-off on
private holders of Greek debts, in return for deeply unpopular austerity
Although the Greek public has strongly resisted the austerity measures, a
recent opinion poll in a newspaper showed 70% wanted to remain within the
George Papandreou was born on June 16th, 1952 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Papandreou
June 16th, 1952
6 + 16 +1+9+5+2 = 39 = his life lesson = what he is here to learn = Charming. Offers. Proposals. Half-truths. Promises, promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
June 16th, 1952
6 + 16 +2+0+1+1 = 26 = his personal year (from June 16th, 2011 to June 15th, 2012) = Television. The media. In the news. Making headlines.
26 year + 10 (October) = 36 = his personal month (from October 16th, 2011 to November 15th, 2011) = Credit. Debt. Bailout. Default. Feeling like the weight of the world is on his shoulders.
36 month + 3 (3rd of the month on Thursday November 3rd, 2011) = 39 = his personal day = Charming. Offers. Proposals. Half-truths. Promises, promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
[When his number (39 (his life lesson number)) comes up, that’s when he gets to live/experience what he is here to live/experience. So Thursday November 3rd, 2011 was his day.]
36 month + 4 (4th of the month on Friday November 4th, 2011) = 40 = his personal day = Help!
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