Connect to share and comment

Papandreou will not resign: BBC (UPDATED)

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou was expected to offer his resignation after an emergency cabinet meeting Thursday morning. Ministers have revolted against a referendum on the country's euro zone bailout.

Greece papandreou euro 2011 11 1Enlarge
Should the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou resign and the government be dissolved? (Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated: According to the BBC, Papandreou will not be resigning though according to sources speaking to the BBC, he was expected to offer his resignation.  

Greece's government was on the point of collapse Thursday, with ministers revolting against a planned referendum on the country's euro zone bailout.

Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to offer his resignation, according to sources cited by the BBC.

According to the BBC's information, Papandreou will meet Greek President Karolos Papoulis immediately after an emergency cabinet meeting called for noon.

The PM is reportedly planning to offer to stand aside to allow a former banker, Lucas Papademos, to take the helm of a new coalition government.

However, other news agencies had contradictory reports. One of Papandreou's aides told Reuters that neither the prime minister nor the cabinet intended to resign.

The news agency also reported that the president's office had no planned meetings with Papandreou.

Read more on GlobalPost: Giving Greeks a voice is a referendum a good idea?

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was the first to break ranks with Papandreou, the Associated Press reported.

But some lawmakers are demanding an emergency meeting of all ruling Socialist party members.

The revolt comes after Papandreou surprised his own party on Monday by calling for a national vote on the a 130 billion euro aid package for Greece, agreed to by European leaders in Brussels.

The move upset financial markets, and led to a warning from France and Germany that Greece would not receive another cent in aid until it decides whether to remain the euro zone.

Lawmaker Eva Kaili said she would not back the government in a confidence vote slated for Friday, the Associated Press reported.

In a letter to Papandreou, Kaili urged him to reverse his decision to call a referendum.

The AP reported:

Without Kaili's support, the governing Socialists hold a one-seat majority in the 300-member parliament ... With open rebellion among his ranks, it's unclear whether it can survive that long and many in Greece are calling on the establishment of a national unity government, incorporating the opposition.

Papandreou said Greece's referendum on the bailout package, which demands strict austerity measures, would effectively be a decision on whether or not the country remained part of the euro zone.

But Venizelos said the vote must not be about Greece's future in the euro bloc. After crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, he said in a statement:

"Greece's position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt. This achievement by the Greek people cannot depend on a referendum."

The referendum, which will dominate Thursday's G20 meeting in the southern French city of Cannes, is likely to be held on December 4, the BBC reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/111103/greece-ministers-referendum-revolt-emergency-cabinet