Greek PM: Talks to Begin Soon on Coalition Government

Posted November 5th, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says talks will soon begin on forming a new coalition government that will secure continued bailout funds.

Mr. Papandreou made his remarks hours after surviving a no-confidence vote in parliament.

But Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras responded by repeating his call for immediate elections and for Mr. Papandreou to resign. Samaras said the prime minister is bad for the country.

Greek President Carolos Papoulias said he will meet with Samaras on Sunday to discuss the deadlock on a unity government.

Prime Minister Papandreou won the no-confidence vote after saying he is willing to discuss a power-sharing government to approve a bailout deal that is key to saving Greece from bankruptcy and stabilizing countries that use the euro currency.

He has warned that holding early elections would be disastrous.

Samaras says Mr. Papandreou jeopardized Greece's world financial standing by calling for a controversial referendum on the bailout, a plan the prime minister later scrapped.

Mr. Papandreou faced enormous international pressure to call off the referendum, which angered world leaders trying to formulate the eurozone rescue.

He said the vote was a political move to get Greek opposition to support the bailout plan. He dropped the plan after opposition lawmakers said they would support the bailout.

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

On Friday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Greece desperately needs the next $11 billion installment of its existing $150 billion bailout. European leaders and the International Monetary Fund have said Greece will not get another cent if it backs out of its bailout agreement.