Greek Prime Minister Calls Off Referendum Vote
The Prime Minister addressed his political party Thursday evening saying that a vote was not necessary because political parties have decided to back the deal.
From The New York Times:
“The question was never about the referendum but about whether or not we are prepared to approve the decisions on Oct. 26,” he said, referring to the European Union debt deal. “What is at stake is our position in the E.U.”
Shortly afterward, the finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, confirmed the cancellation of the referendum and added that the government would now seek approval of the loan deal from a full majority of 180 in Parliament, rather than the simple majority of 151 that has supported previous measures.
Now, Papandreou is aiming to form a temporary unity government that would involve both sides of Greece's political spectrum in an attempt to pass the measure.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"I applaud this different position adopted by the New Democracy party. Hopefully it can mark the start of a new political culture. Society wants it and I'm sure it will applaud it also," Papandreou told lawmakers in his speech.
He added that the referendum proposal had "offered a positive and creative shock" to the debate.
After talks of an exit strategy in case Greece did need to pull out of the Euro, tension filled discussions at the G20 summit. U.S. President Barack Obama said Europe had made steps in the right direction, but needed to move faster to implement them.
At a meeting in Cannes, leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and top EU officials explored ways of accelerating implementation of a euro zone anti-crisis package agreed on October 27.
That plan, which includes debt relief for Greece, a recapitalization of European banks and a leveraging of the bloc's rescue fund, was meant to stem the two-year old crisis before Papandreou's referendum call cast the bloc into turmoil.
Officials said the meeting focused on speeding up the creation of a firewall to protect other vulnerable euro zone states from the fallout from Greece.
The vulnerability across the continent caused European markets to take a dive Thursday, but not nearly as much as some analysts thought.
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