Greece PM Survives Confidence Vote

George Papandreou remains in office after tumultuous week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2011 6:09 PM CDT
Greece PM Survives Confidence Vote
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, right, next to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greece's prime minister survived a confidence vote early Saturday, calming a revolt in his Socialist party with an emotional pledge to step aside if need be and seek a cross-party government lasting four months to safeguard Europe's new debt agreement. George Papandreou won the critical confidence motion with a vote of 153-145 after a week of drama in Athens that horrified its European partners, spooked global markets, and overshadowed the Group of 20 summit in Cannes.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the new government that will be formed would last until the end of February. But opposition leader Antonis Samaras, who had demanded Papandreou resign, called for snap elections. He did not say whether his conservative party would join coalition talks, due to be formally launched later Saturday when Papandreou meets the country's president. Papandreou's government came under threat this week, following his disastrous bid to hold a referendum on a major new European debt agreement. The idea was swiftly scrapped yesterday after an angry response from markets and European leaders. (More Greece stories.)

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