By Ria Novosti
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pledged on Monday to hold a referendum on whether Greece will accept the new aid package proposed by the EU in return for continued austerity measures in Greece.
“In this case the people themselves will decide the further history of the country,” Papandreou said.
However, the opposition in parliament vowed to reject the measure, calling for fresh elections instead.
“Direct elections now. That is the best, safest referendum,” said Yannis Michalakis, a spokesman for the New Democracy party.
It takes 180 votes in the 300-seat parliament to call a referendum. Papandreou’s ruling coalition has just 153 seats.
On October 26 the EU states reached a deal to write off 50 percent of Greece’s debt and provide the country with up to 100 billion euro ($140 billion) of financial support from the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
But the deal stipulates tough austerity measures for Greece until 2020.
A national opinion poll showed that more than 60 percent of Greeks reject the new EU deal. Failure of the referendum would put Greece on the brink of bankruptcy.