Reshuffle not unity government


Following a day of discussions between Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leaders, the prime minister has announced that he will hold a reshuffle on 16th June followed by a confidence vote in his new government on 17th June.

Yesterday started with a midday meeting with President Karolos Papoulias. Then the prime minister undertook a series of telephone calls to the four other party leaders in the parliament.

In those calls he had suggested that there should be a national unity government on the condition that it would support the EU/IMF bailout plans.

The newspapers were reporting that the main opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, of the New Democracy Party (ND) did not indicate either ways, but that he made it clear that any such government could not be run with Papandreou as Prime Minister. Papandreou made it clear that he would be happy to stand down to facilitate the formation of a national unity government.

Subsequently the prime minister announced that the demands of Samaras had made a national unity government impossible.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader, Aleka Papariga, had rejected the proposals and instead called for an election.

Finally late last night the prime minister abandoned the national unity government idea and decided to try for a reshuffle and vote of confidence.

Whilst all of this was happening up to 20,000 protesters were on the streets of Athens with some violent clashes occurring with police. As the evening set in the crowds grew and the protests became more good natured. The protests coincided with a national strike in Greece.

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