Papandreou wins confidence vote


George Papandreou won his confidence vote last night after a stormy week in which he had proposed a referendum on the EU bailout, been summoned to the G20 meeting to explain himself and then faced a rebellion within his own party.

The prime minister won the confidence vote by 153 in favour to 145 against.

He has said that he will see President Karolos Papoulis today to discuss establishing an interim government. The new government is likely to be led by current finance minister Evangelos Venizelos although Lucas Papademos, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank, has also been named.

Antonis Samaras, the main opposition New Democracy leader, has said that he will not be involved in an interim government involving the incumbent PASOK government. Instead he has called for immediate elections.

The most likely scenario is that the interim government will gain support from some of the smaller parties in order to pass the Eurozone bailout package and then go for an election in early 2012. The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) which has 16 MPs, and centre-right Democratic Alliance, which has 4 MPs and was founded by Dora Bakoyannis earlier this year as a splinter group from New Democracy have said that they will support an interim government.

Although the inference from last night’s vote is that George Papandreou will now step down as prime minister he has given no such assurance and there may be further problems if he refuses to do so.

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