Greek Opposition Chief: PM Must Resign Before Coalition Deal

Posted November 6th, 2011 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Greek conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras says the country's socialist prime minister must resign before the two sides can agree on a new coalition government that would secure continued bailout funds and avert a national bankruptcy.

Samaras said Sunday “everything will follow its course” if Prime Minister George Papandreou resigns. The New Democracy party leader spoke after a brief meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias. But, members of the ruling Pasok party said the prime minister will not resign until after the government and the opposition reach a deal on a coalition, including how long it will lead the country before new elections.

The ruling socialists say elections should wait until January or February, but the conservative opposition wants a vote by December.

Mr. Papandreou was holding an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday to discuss his efforts to form a national unity government that would secure parliamentary approval of second European-led bailout package offered to Greece last month. The deal requires the Greek government to make further increases to tax rates and deeper cuts in pensions and salaries.

It was not clear if the ruling Pasok party was holding any talks with the main opposition New Democracy Sunday.

European leaders have called on Greece to approve the new bailout plan and implement the terms of an existing rescue package provided to Athens by the European Union and International Monetary Fund last year. Some EU leaders have warned that Greece will not get any further aid if it fails to take those measures.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is expected to discuss those issues with fellow euro zone finance chiefs in Brussels on Monday. He has said Greece needs the next $11 billion installment of its existing bailout by December to avoid bankruptcy.