Greek Prime Minister George Papendreou may have narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in the Greek Parliament but a new political crisis still threatens Greece. Leader of the opposition party New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, has called for immediate elections rather than work to form the coalition government proposed by Papandreou. Ekathimerini
reported Samaras insisted “The only solution is elections.”
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has taken the more steady line of calling for elections in February rather than immediately. According to Athens News
Venizelos has garnered enough support to head a coalition government in the interim until the E.U. bailout is secured.
Immediate elections would not only add to more disruption in Greece but would be a costly affair that many voters may not be able to afford to participate in. Voting is mandatory in Greece and involves an extended weekend as voters must return to the towns or villages of their birth to vote. Thjs entails many thousands of people who work in cities returning to their often distant home towns, necessitating the additional expense of many travelling from the mainland to the islands.
Although the outcome of this weeks turmoil is that the two main political parties are now both in favour of accepting the E.U. bailout, with Papandreou's call for a referendum consigned to the chopping block, the political wrangling does nothing to ensure stability and strong leadership at a time when the country desperately needs it.
John Deed, commenting on an article in the Telegraph
, astutely points out that although he knows little regarding Greek politics
"I can't understand all this change of government or a government of national unity. It seems to me that all sides want to accept the bail out and condemn ordinary Greeks to decades of pain. Greece is not being offered any options, no one is saying vote for us and we will leave the Euro and return the country to prosperity within 5 years or vote for us and we will become good Germans in twenty years and all will be well."
Papapendreou is meeting the Greek President Karolos Papoulias at noon on Saturday to discuss forming a new government and it is widely expected he will step down from his position as Prime Minister.