Sunday, November 06, 2011

Not called Papandreou for nothing

George Papandreou, hereditary Prime Minister of Greece is hanging on in there. The Telegraph says
George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, cleared the way for his resignation by scheduling a three way meeting with Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative opposition, and the president to overcome sticking points over the leadership and duration of the unity government.

A seven point plan for the new government was thrashed out at a cabinet meeting of socialist government. It included a deadline for parliament to ratify the eurozone bailout before the end of December.

Mr Papandreou told the cabinet that the country would be presented with a new government within hours and that he would vacate office soon after. The interim government, led by technocrats, will run the country until a general election is called, probably in the first half of next year.
Is that within hours shorter than the half an hour that was the period predicted at the time of the Cabinet meeting on Thursday?

Bloomberg adds:
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, trying to preserve international aid before the nation runs out of money next month, raced to form a unity government before markets open as the main opposition leader demanded he step down before any accord.

“It’s clear this government is prepared to hand over the baton, but it can’t hand it over into a vacuum,” Papandreou told his ministers at a meeting today in Athens, according to an e-mailed transcript from his office. “We will hand it over to the next government if we agree and conclude on this. And I hope this will happen, as I said, soon and when I say soon, I mean today, not tomorrow, for very many reasons.”

Papandreou met late today with New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and President Karolos Papoulias to iron out differences. Samaras had earlier said he was “determined to help” reach an agreement as long as the premier stepped down first. Samaras had previously demanded early elections and balked at joining forces with Papandreou’s socialist Pasok party even if the premier resigned.
I presume he will resign at some point soon and the likelihood is that the Finance Minister will take over. However, one cannot simply disregard the Leader of the Not So Loyal Opposition. Frankly, even if the man goes I don't expect him to stay away from government for long. He would not be worthy of the name Papandreou if he did that.

First of those cross-posted contributions.