Greek Tragedy: Papandreou struggles to stay in power ahead of key vote
Published 04/11/2011 | 13:00
GREEK Prime Minister George Papandreou was today struggling to save his political career after the country’s biggest opposition party snubbed his attempts to form a national government.
The move has already raised the prospect of an election which could delay a new tranche of €8bn in EU/IMF aid which is needed to pay teachers and nurses in the nation.
European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso also said today that it is possible that Greece will leave the eurozone and the union after Mr Papandreou’s shock announcement that he would hold a referendum over the austerity measures being imposed on the country as part of bailout loan terms including a 50pc write-off of Greek debt.
That referendum move was scrapped yesterday – when it was announced on Monday it prompted massive sell-offs on worldwide stock markets and caused a spike in the cost of borrowing for many other European countries including Italy and Spain.
If he survives the day, Mr Papandreou faces a confidence vote scheduled for midnight tonight.
“I repeat I am not interested in being re-elected but just in saving the country,” he told politicians in the Greek parliament.
But his inability to resolve the political stalemate is pushing the country closer to the first ever default by a European Union country.
European stock markets fell again today having gained earlier and the euro also fell against the dollar.
"There's a real danger of a disorderly default," said billionaire investor George Soros, in a speech in Hungary.
“You're liable to have a run on the banks in other countries as well.
“That's the danger of a meltdown" unless support is given to Greek banks, he added.
If Mr Papandreou loses the confidence vote, President Karolos Papoulias could try to bring other parties together to form a national administration or opposition parties could form an alternative - but it would take up to three weeks to hold an election.