Just two days after delivering his speech on allowing the Greek people a democratic choice over the planned November bail out package, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has dropped the idea.
Moreover, after agreeing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the vote would essentially be a vote on remaining in or leaving the euro, he claims the referendum was never intended to determine that. (Ekathimerini
Despite early reports that Papandreou was about to resign
on Thursday he has done another about face and changed his mind. On Friday he will face a vote of no confidence in parliament but is suggesting a coalition government be formed. The leader of the opposition party New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, has called for Papandreou to step down and for early elections to be called. After speaking with the prime minister Samaras is reported by the Telegraph
"Papandreou apparently has not realized what I said on the phone. He has to step down now. We don't plan to have a coalition government."
One upshot of the changeable behaviour of Papandreou is the opposition has now accepted the bail out package, for which he praised Samaras. However in a speech on Thursday afternoon he made it clear that calling an election would be a dangerous path. He said
"a national election would lead us to a situation where society is under a lot of pressure and I doubt that we would get to the end of this election without a bankruptcy."
By dropping the referendum idea and gaining the support of the opposition for the bailout it appears as if Papadreou presumes his own political survival, which is increasingly looking more doubtful due to the turmoil his erratic decisions over the last few days have caused. The BBC
reports that many PASOK MP's are angry over his mis-management of the crisis and with such a small parliamentary majority he could still be voted against in Friday's confidence vote.