Greek Crisis: George Papandreou 'Asked To Resign' By Leader Of Opposition

Greek Crisis: George Papandreou Asked To Resign By Leader Of Opposition

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou could leave office if a coalition government is formed following a confidence vote in parliament on Friday, according to unconfirmed reports.

Citing an unnamed source, the Reuters news agency said that the PM had 'struck a deal' with ministers to step down if the confidence vote was won.

However those reports were not confirmed by any other source, and an atmosphere of confusion and angst pervaded Greek politics after a dramatic day.

In parliament on Thursday Papandreou was asked to resign by the leader of the opposition New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras, who said that the PM had not listened to his concerns.

There were also calls for a snap election.

Earlier on Thursday Papandreou said he was prepared to scrap plans for a referendum on the eurozone bailout as long as the opposition agreed to vote for the plan in parliament.

In a speech to his Pasok party MPs, the prime minister said: "If the opposition is willing to negotiate then we are ready to ratify this deal and implement it."

He said that a rejection of a referendum would have led inevitably to a withdrawal from the single currency. To avoid that doomsday scenario there now existed "a new political position" of cross-party co-operation.

The only other alternative would have been to hold a national election, but that would have bankrupted the country, Papandreou said.

The PM added that the frantic reaction to the proposal for a referendum, planned for 4 December, had been a "beneficial shock", and claimed that Greece would be stronger with its politicians working together. He also urged his MPs to vote in a confidence poll to be held on Friday.

Evangelos Venizelos, Pasok deputy leader, went further than Papandreau, stating in a speech following the leader's address that Greece "must say it is not holding the referendum".

He also said that the bailout must be passed by at least 180 of the country's 300 MPs.

Papandreou has faced pressure to resign over the proposal to let the public vote on a €8bn rescue package which many Greeks fear will impose years of austerity on their country.


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