Greek Crisis: Papandreou's Opponents Threaten To Derail Acceptance Of The Bailout
George Papandreou is due to meet Antonis Samaras, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party, on Sunday in the hope of ending the political deadlock that threatens to derail the country’s acceptance of the eurozone bailout.
The prime minister survived a dramatic vote of no-confidence on Friday night and vowed to form a coalition government to ensure the passing of the euro130 billion deal.
However, Samaras has refused to take part in the proposed unity government, and has demanded snap elections, calling the continued leadership of Papandreou “dangerous for Greece”.
The prime minister, who told parliament in an impassioned speech before Friday's vote that his own re-election was unimportant when compared to "saving the country", remains adamant that calling an election before the bailout is passed would be “disastrous”.
Papandreou met with President Karolos Papoulias on Saturday morning to inform him of his plan to build a transitional government. It was reported that Evangelos Venizelos, the current finance minister, could be asked to lead the new coalition with Papandreou stepping aside.
However, New Democracy appears unwilling to have any member of the ruling Pasok party lead the government, while the political horse-trading of its leader threatens to push Greece even close to financial catastrophe.
On his political opponents, Papandreou said: “A lack of co-operation could trouble how our partners see our will and desire to remain in the central core of the European Union and the euro".
Despite the unpopularity of the austerity cuts to be implemented as part of the bailout deal agreed with the eurozone leaders, political opinion in Greece appears to be opposed to elections, with two opinion polls published on Saturday indicating a preference for a coalition government.
The latest twists follow days of uncertainty after the prime minister's shock announcement that the government would hold a referendum on the eurozone bailout.
On Thursday, following pressure from eurozone leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Cannes, the referendum was scrapped, leading to a chorus of calls for Papandreou to quit.
Outside the parliament in Athens, thousand of protesters gathered, many from the Greek Communist Party.
The uncertainty in Athens has overshadowed efforts to tackle the European debt crisis by world leaders in France, with questions over Papandreou’s leadership, alongside the country’s continued involvement in the eurozone project, causing havoc with global markets.
In France, world leaders drew a blank in their efforts to resolve the eurozone crisis, as the G20 summit ended with no agreement on crucial measures to shore up ailing economies.