By Ria Novosti
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived on Saturday a crucial parliamentary confidence vote, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.
Papandreou’s government found itself on the brink of collapse after a week of political turmoil in Athens that horrified the indebted country’s European partners and overshadowed the Group of 20 summit in the French resort of Cannes.
A total of 153 lawmakers, including all MPs from Papandreou’s parliamentary faction and one former faction member, backed the government. Out of 298 MPs who took part in Saturday’s vote, 145 voted to dissolve Papandreou’s Cabinet.
Ahead of the vote, Papandreou promissed to seek a cross-party government lasting four months to safeguard Europe’s new debt agreement. The opposition, however, rejected the proposal and called for early elections, which Papandreou said would be “catastrophic” for the country.
International pressure and a looming collapse of his government forced Papandreou on Thursday to abandon his plans to hold the referendum on the new 130-billion-euro rescue package for Greece, which was approved by euro zone leaders on October 26.
Papandreou’s referendum proposal, announced earlier this week to the surprise of everyone, including his own ministers, triggered international turmoil, with European leaders threatening to expel Greece from the euro zone if the new bailout package, which requires new tough austerity measures, is rejected in the popular vote.