Greek referendum puts bailout in peril

 

Greece will hold a referendum on the debt deal agreed last week by European leaders – a move that puts in jeopardy the wide-ranging package that took months to hammer out.

The Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announced that he would seek wider political support for the reforms required by the deal, which critics saw as a blow to Greece's sovereignty.

"This will be the referendum: the citizens will be called upon to say a big Yes or a big No to the new loan arrangement," Mr Papandreou told Socialist members of parliament.

"This is a supreme act of democracy and of patriotism for the people to make their own decision ... We have a duty to promote the role and the responsibility of the citizen."

Mr Papandreou will also ask for a vote of confidence. This is expected to be held on Friday while the referendum, the country's first in 37 years, is slated for early next year.

Greece has been rocked by months of sit-ins, strikes and violent protests over a series of austerity measures that are sending the country into a fourth year of recession in 2012.

Last Thursday eurozone leaders agreed a second, €130bn bailout as well as a 50 per cent write-down on Greece's enormous debt.

A poll on Saturday revealed that most Greeks have responded negatively towards the agreement, suggesting the possibility that eurozone leaders may have to go back to the drawing board.

The survey published by the newspaper To Vima and conducted immediately after Thursday's summit, showed that nearly 60 per cent of Greeks viewed the deal as negative or probably negative.

Mr Papandreou's own MPs have put pressure on him to share the political burden of austerity measures with other parties.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, a constitutional law professor, said the referendum was called after opposition parties repeatedly failed to side with the government in negotiations between Greece and other eurozone members.

"Greece is living through a drama, from which it must be released by asking the people to express its will," Mr Venizelos told parliament.

"Each citizen will make his own decision, with responsibility, in a process that will provide a national sense of relief and recovery," he added.

Opposition parties accused ministers of calling the vote to save their teetering government, threatened by growing dissent from Socialist dissenters.

"The Prime Minister is trying to buy time," said Costas Gioulekas of the conservative New Democracy party. "We want clear solutions. And a clear solution is obvious: elections."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week