Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has agreed to resign following the introduction of a new coalition government. This is according to an Athens news agency, quoting a source close to Papandreou himself.
Sunday’s Greek Cabinet meeting is likely to go down in history as the final with Papandreou in charge. However, the agreement has not been reached yet between Greek party leaders meaning the PM could resign on Monday.
His resignation has been on everyone’s lips for some time, though he did survive a confidence vote on Saturday, with 153 votes in his favor in the 300-member parliament. At the moment Papandreou is midway through a four-year term.
Papandreou’s resignation was requested by opposition leader Antonis Samaras. His New Democracy – one of the country’s two largest parties – has virtually exclusive power to make the much-needed coalition government work.
“I am ready to help the country, in case if he [Papandreou] steps down. If he does not resign, he does not allow the constitution to operate properly; if he does resign, the things will go as they have to,” Samaras has announced.
Former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is most likely candidate to be named Papandreou’s successor. He will represent Greece at Monday’s key euro group to discuss the latest 130-billion-euro bailout package agreed on October 26.
The bailout would wipe out half of the Greece’s current debt (100 billion euro) and inject another 30 billion euro into the country’s crisis-hit private sector. In return Greece has cut government jobs, encourage privatization, and reduce budget spending.
At Venizelos’ request the new government is to govern the country for four months, paving the way for an election in early spring 2012. Papandreou discouraged intentions to hold the election immediately, as that would jeopardize the implementation of the bailout. However, the opposition still intend to hasten the election build-up.
Head of EuroCommission’s monetary affairs Ollie Rehn was quoted by Reuters earlier saying the EU is prepared for every Greek scenario including their exit from the union.