Greek PM: Talks To Begin Soon On Coalition Government


Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says talks will soon begin on forming a new coalition government that will secure continued bailout funds.

Mr. Papandreou made his remarks following a meeting Saturday with Greek President Carolos Papoulias, and hours after surviving a no-confidence vote in parliament.

The prime minister won the vote after saying he was willing to discuss a power-sharing government to approve a bailout deal key to saving Greece from bankruptcy and stabilizing countries that use the euro currency.

Meanwhile, Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras repeated his call for immediate elections and said Mr. Papandreou would be bad for the country.

Samaras has demanded Mr. Papandreou’s resignation, saying he jeopardized Greece’s world financial standing by calling for a controversial referendum on the bailout, a plan the prime minister later scrapped.

Mr. Papandreou has warned that holding early elections would be disastrous.

On Friday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Greece desperately needs the next $11 billion installment of its existing $150 billion bailout. European leaders and the International Monetary Fund have said Greece would not get another cent if it backs out of its bailout agreement.

Mr. Papandreou faced enormous international pressure to call off the referendum, which angered world leaders trying to formulate the eurozone rescue.

He said the vote was a political move to get Greek opposition to support the bailout plan. He dropped the plan after opposition lawmakers said they would support the bailout.

Samaras has called for the creation of a transitional government to prepare for early elections.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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