- Title: GREECE: Greek government on brink of collapse
- Date: 4th November 2011
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (NOVEMBER 3, 2001) (REUTERS) REPORTERS STANDING OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT BUILDING (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) REBEL DEPUTY, DIMITRIS LYTZERIS, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IN THE RULING SOCIALIST PASOK PARTY, SAYING: "The weakness of the government is more obvious than ever now. The country is without political guidance and cannot continue. I propose -- in the interest of the nation and to regain the dignity of the country -- that political powers must do what is obvious. They should decide on the formation of a national unity government, so that they safeguard the interests of the country, and that of our European partners." REPORTERS STANDING OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT AS DEPUTIES ENTER (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IN THE RULING SOCIALIST PARTY, TILEMACHOS HITIRIS, SAYING: "I propose undoubtedly that the prime minister visit the president of the republic, to call for a coalition government with opposition parties -- with the commitment that the EU bailout agreement will pass; that the next loan instalment will be given, and to keep Greece in Europe today and tomorrow." GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EVANGELOS VENIZELOS, ARRIVING FOR CABINET MEETING
- Embargoed: 19th November 2011 12:00
- Location: Greece, Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Economic News,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA8B1E862KYIACJDIDWCT61E1HG
- Story Text: The Greek government teetered on the brink of collapse on Thursday (November 3) over plans for a referendum on a euro zone bailout, with ruling party defections casting grave doubt on whether Prime Minister George Papandreou can survive a confidence vote.
Papandreou was chairing an emergency cabinet session in parliament, to be followed by an expected meeting of lawmakers from his socialist PASOK party.
Lawmakers were also debating a confidence vote called by Papandreou in another chamber of parliament for a second day, before the vote on Friday (November 4).
More and more ministers arriving for the cabinet meeting and lawmakers entering parliament for the debate called for elections.
"The other road is to agree for a government formation which will be a national unity government, with the main goal to secure the next disbursement of the loan instalment and the EU bailout agreement," said ruling party's member of parliament, Odysseas Voudouris, during a debate on the confidence vote.
"The weakness of the government is more obvious than ever now. The country is without political guidance and cannot continue. I propose -- in the interests of the nation and to regain the dignity of the country -- that political powers must do what is obvious. They should decide on a formation of a national unity government, so that they safeguard the current interests of the country, and that of our European partners," said another lawmaker Dimitris Lytzeris.
Another senior deputy of the ruling party urged Papandreou to form a coalition government and later call early elections.
Echoing calls from other party members, Socialist lawmaker Telemachos Hitiris said that elections should be held only after a 130-billion-euro bailout for Greece had been approved and the latest eight billion-euro tranche of EU/IMF funding had been secured.
"I propose undoubtedly that the prime minister visit the president of the republic -- to call for a coalition government with opposition parties with the commitment that the EU bailout agreement will pass; that the next loan instalment will be given, and to keep Greece in Europe," said Hitiris, before going in to parliament.
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has also broken ranks with Papandreou, opposing the referendum after a bruising meeting with the German and French leaders who made clear Greece faced ejection from the euro zone if the nation rejected the 130 billion-euro rescue.
Venizelos, one of the most powerful men in the PASOK government, originally supported Papandreou's plan. His change of mind came after he and Papandreou attended an emergency summit in France on Wednesday (November 2) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Papandreou now has the support of just 151 deputies out of 300 for Friday's vote.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None