Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I'll stand my ground...I won't back down

Tom Petty...meet George Papandreou. He apparently likes your song.

The Greek prime minister reaffirmed throughout the day Wednesday that he will not back down on a plan to call a national referendum on whether Greece should accept the recently brokered financial bailout of his country.

As Reuters reports, Mr. Papandreou left a cabinet meeting late Wednesday determined to move forward with his idea.

"The referendum will be a clear mandate and a clear message in and outside Greece on our European course and participation in the euro," Papandreou told a late-night cabinet meeting, according to a statement released by his office.

"No one will be able to doubt Greece's course within the euro," he said, adding that market turmoil triggered by his announcement of the referendum late on Monday would be short-lived.

The euro and global stocks were pummeled on financial markets on Tuesday after Papandreou's move threw into question the survival of crucial efforts to contain the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.

The leaders of France and Germany, caught unawares by Papandreou's high-stakes gamble, summoned him to crisis talks in Cannes on Wednesday to push, before a summit of the G20 major world economies, for quick implementation of the bailout deal.
The Financial Post adds that world markets have reacted harshly and negatively to the prime minister. Moreover, the Telegraph explains what could happen if the plebiscite goes through and a "no" vote wins.
A No vote could mean Greece is forced to withdraw from the single currency [the Euro], raising doubts about the euro’s value and wiping trillions off the value of shares and loans across the continent.
The New York Times notes a few Greek economists say that the country's return to the drachma is the best option. However, Business Week, in a story appearing during the overnight hours in Europe, says Mr. Papandreou believes the vote will be in favor of Greece remaining a Euro nation. 
“The referendum will be a clear mandate and strong message within and outside Greece on our European course and our participation in the euro,” Papandreou told his ministers in Athens early today, according to an e-mailed transcript. It will “ensure this course in the most decisive way.”
Papandreou will fly to Cannes today to face European leaders surprised by his decision to put the bailout plan to a referendum and call a confidence vote in parliament. His grip on power has weakened after one lawmaker from his socialist Pasok party defected, leaving him with 152 deputies in the 300-seat chamber, while another, Vasso Papandreou, called on the Greek president to move toward forming a national unity government.
So at least for now, Mr. Papandreou continues to sing that great Tom Petty song. 

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