Greek PM calls for coalition, signals may quit
Posted on: 05:09 AM IST Nov 05, 2011
Athens: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called on Friday for a new coalition government to approve a bailout deal vital for saving the country from bankruptcy and tackling the euro zone's economic crisis, and signalled he was ready to stand down.
Papandreou told parliament that he would go to the Greek president on Saturday to discuss formation of a broader-based government that would secure the 130 billion euro bailout, adding that he was willing to discuss who would head a new administration.
"The last thing I care about is my post. I don't care even if I am not reelected. The time has come to make a new effort... I never thought of politics as a profession," he said before a parliamentary vote of confidence in his government.
Earlier, sources said Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has won the backing of leaders of some smaller parties to support a new coalition that he would head.
The new government would force the euro zone bailout deal through parliament before calling early elections in a few months, sources close to the deal told Reuters.
The leaders of the far-right LAOS party and another centre-right party indicated after Papandreou's speech that they would cooperate in a new coalition.
Papandreou provoked uproar at home and abroad on Monday when he announced a referendum on the bailout, agreed by euro zone leaders only last week.
Under heavy domestic and international pressure, he backed down on a vote which could well have rejected the deal, cutting off Greece's last financial lifeline and potentially sinking euro zone leaders' attempts to stop the debt crisis devastating the bloc's bigger economies such as Italy and Spain.
The government officially announced earlier on Friday that the referendum would not go ahead.