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writing for godot

Greece Prime Minister Survives Confidence Vote: But What About the People?

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Written by Nan Fandel-MacQueen   
Saturday, 05 November 2011 19:20

After narrowly surviving a Parliament confidence vote late Friday night by 153 to 145, Prime Minister George Papandreou met this morning with the country’s president to begin his push for a coalition.

Mr. Papandreou sees this coalition as imperative to building a political consensus that would prove that Greece wants to keep the euro and remain in the European Union, all the while, fully protecting its partnerships elsewhere.

But what about the people of Greece?

According to BBC News online early this morning, upon entering the presidential palace for an hour-long meeting, Mr. Papandreou insisted that this government cooperation was “necessary to guarantee, for Greece and for our partners, that we can honor our commitments.”

But the main opposition party doesn’t see it that way, and no one knows for sure if the people will either. The opposition party promised today not to join any coalition under Mr. Papandreou. Instead, they have demanded elections.

In two stunning moves this past week, the prime minister himself surprised the World by calling for a referendum from the people on the recently hard-fought EU bailout plan, throwing financial markets worldwide into a tailspin. And then, he suddenly withdrew it, leaving the people out of the loop, and calling for a confidence vote from Parliament in hopes that his political currency could effectively form solidarity and aid him in maintaining power to fully broker the EU deal.

Though the confidence vote does keep Mr. Papandreou at the helm for now, the call for rapid elections by the New Democratic Party appears to be a move to replace him with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizeldos as an interim prime minster, reported BBC News online today. Mr. Venizeldos claims that elections could be held once procedures for securing the EU bailout package have been completed.

Battening down procedures for securing the planned bailout is one thing, but what about the terms of the bailout with regard to the people?

Austerity measures linked to this most recent bailout plan for Greece have not yet been clearly defined. Early outlines of the plan appear to call for at least a decade of austerity that would call for the people to, perhaps, lose their pensions and cause them to struggle for day-to-day survival. However, no details as to what this austerity program fully entails have been cemented at this time.

For now, it seems that Prime Minister Papandreou has dodged a political Titanic, but the people remain hanging onto the stern of the severely listing ship-of-state by their fingernails, hoping that Parliament will work out a plan that secures their future and finances for the long term, and before they're thrown into the icy waters for good.

This writer sees an evermore deepening chasm in the democracy of Greece that most surely, and once again, will drive the people furiously to the streets as their leaders continue to play politics with their lives, whoever is in power.

Mr. Papandreou claims not to care about his political future, but rather, the country’s stability and its people's well being. One can only hope that he means this and will act accordingly as long as he is Prime Minister. But history has proved otherwise: For Greece’s leaders, commandeering the ship they believe cannot sink has proved more important than maintaining a fiscally responsible government that benefits the people first and foremost and provides them with enough lifeboats to survive.

Because precariously floating on this tumultuous sea toward meltdown is all too familiar to the people of Greece, to them, sinking is still a very real possibility.

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+1 # NanFan 2011-11-05 10:29
The date on this article by me should actually be 05 November 2011, as much of the information obviously was obtained after 04 November 2011, and was written by me on the 5th.

Thank you, and sorry for the mistake.

Nan
 

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