November 5, 2011 · 0 Comments
George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, has told the president a political consensus is crucial to avoid early elections and protect the country’s membership of the eurozone.
Papandreou’s meeting with President Karolos Papoulias came just hours after he won a confidence vote in the Socialist-led parliament on a pledge that he was willing to step aside and form a cross-party caretaker government.
“My aim is to immediately create a government of co-operation,” Papandreou told the president in the presence of reporters before the two leaders held talks behind closed doors on Saturday.
“A lack of consensus would worry our European partners about our country’s membership of the eurozone.”
Yet Antonis Samaras, leader of the opposition conservative party, repeated his demand on Saturday that Papandreou resign the country hold snap elections.
“We now ask only one thing in order to turn to normality: Elections. This is the only way for the stabilisation of the country, to restore its image, and to emerge sooner from this nightmare,” Samaras said.
Samaras, head of the New Democracy party, said he still backed the idea of a short-term coalition government with the aim of securing parliamentary approval of a euro zone bailout for Greece before elections are held.
Samaras will meet the country’s president on Sunday at 1100 GMT, a statement from the president’s office said.
In a speech to parliament late on Friday nigh, Papandreou said a new coalition should be formed to force a $180bn bailout deal through the assembly, the last financial lifeline for a nation that is due to run out of money in December.
Papandreou’s socialist government won with 153 votes in the 300 member parliament.
Continue Reading on Aljazeera English
By Emma Brown