Greek PM Faces Confidence Vote Amid Calls for Resignation

Posted November 4th, 2011 at 3:05 am (UTC-5)
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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a parliamentary vote of confidence on Friday, one day after scrapping a controversial referendum that had angered world leaders who are trying to formulate a bailout fund for the cash-strapped country.

Mr. Papandreou on Thursday dropped plans for a nation-wide vote on the bailout deal after Greece's center-right opposition agreed to support the package, which contains spending cuts that are deeply unpopular with the Greek public.

Prime Minister Papandreou, who faced enormous international pressure to call off the referendum, said the vote was a political ploy designed to get Greece's opposition parties to support the bailout plan.

On Thursday, Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras demanded Mr. Papandreou's resignation, saying he had jeopardized Greece's world financial standing by calling for the referendum.

Samaras also called for the creation of a transitional government to prepare for early elections.

While Mr. Papandreou said that holding early elections would be “catastrophic,” he did say he was open to talks with opposition members regarding the formation of a new government that would secure the debt deal.

It is unclear whether Mr. Papandreou's ruling socialist government can survive Friday's vote. His PASOK party has a narrow two-seat majority in parliament, and at least one socialist lawmaker has threatened to vote against the government.

Parliament is expected to hold the confidence vote late Friday, around midnight local time .

European leaders meeting at the G20 economic summit in France warned Greece that it will receive no more EU funding if it does not follow through with the austerity measures associated with the bailout package.