Greek opposition leader calls for Papandreou to step down
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proceeds to a cabinet meeting on Thursday in Athens.
November 3rd, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Greek opposition leader calls for Papandreou to step down

[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] The leader of the main Greek opposition party has called for Prime Minister George Papandreou to step down and for snap elections to be held within six weeks.

The move by Antonis Samaras comes amid uncertainty over whether Papandreou was canceling a referendum over a European bailout package. Earlier Thursday, Papandreou told his Cabinet there was not need for a referendum, given opposition support for the tough austerity measures that accompany the bailout.

Samaras' move undermines the idea of consensus on the austerity measures attached to the bailout deal.

European Union leaders on October 27 got Greek bondholders to scrap about half of Greece's debt as part of a three-pronged plan aimed at shoring up Greece's financial future, returning stability to Europe's banks and expanding the EFSF bailout fund's resources to more than €1 trillion.

But less than a week later, Papandreou shocked the world by calling for a national referendum on international aid for his country - despite already agreeing in principle to implement reforms in order to meet Greek bondholders' terms - which, if rejected, could lead to a Greek default and the country's exit from the euro.

Earlier Thursday, Greece's finance minister said the country's future "cannot depend on a referendum." The finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said the country had to implement the terms of the deal "now, as soon as possible."

[Initial post, 11:45 a.m. ET] Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is backing off plans to hold a controversial referendum on an international bailout for his country, he told his Cabinet Thursday, saying there was no need for it given opposition support for the tough austerity measures that accompany it.

Still, it was not immediately clear if that meant he was canceling the referendum.

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Frank Nigliazzo

    If the Greek government goes ahead with this referendum in order to save Papendreou's political life and it's rejected by the voters, Greece will most certainly default on its sovereign debt and plunge Europe and the United States as well into an economic depression. The U. S. banks that hold Greek bonds will be in big trouble.

    November 3, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andreas Moser

    Couldn't he find the money to print the ballots?

    November 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. citizen

    Travellers Insurance wont pay a claim if you are hit in a parking lot by a McDonalds semi. Watch out for DaWayne the Dairland truck driver. Watch out for Patrick at Travellers Insurance who abets unsafe driving.

    November 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Granny

      It sounds like you have a story to tell. Hint- does your neck hurt? I believe your neck hurts hint hint. Dairyland sounds like a big company hint hint. Who cares about YOUR insurance company.

      November 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    If they didn't smash so many plates at weddings, they might have money left for other things.

    November 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. spade

    The man should be ousted he is willing to sink the world economy for the sake of his own falling political star

    November 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Europe is ailing & Greece is not the only 'sick man'.
    " UK Army prepares for Iran war". Headlines today.
    Great thinking UK , to bail out the world economy teetering on the brink of collapse.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. abby

    the EU goes to great lengths to rescue Greece and this is how the PM responds? well, I think the opposition is right. He needs to resign. he is willing to put not just Greek and European but also the entire world economy at risk.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. THE ONE AND ONLY DRAKOREX1

    AMERICAN PUBLIC DEMANDS THAT CONGRESS , SENATE AND PRESIDENT STEP DOWN IMMEADIATLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Bimbo: Ooooompah!
    Now where's that ouzo?

    November 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Saganaki.
    Yum.

    November 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Retsina. It's an acquired taste.

    November 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry C. RI

    Gravity 7 has reblogged this on Gravity 7? What does that mean? A blogger re gifted an article?

    November 4, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Retarded Child
    November 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |