The parliamentary debate continues, both in the general assembly as well as during the PASOK party meeting, which has since been cancelled.
Anna Diamantopoulou said that she was expecting to hear what had been discussed in the Cabinet meeting: how a government of national unity would be formed.
Vaso Papandreou attacked the prime minister, saying that he clearly didn’t understand the magnitude of the situation he had created, and that he was “ektos pragmatikotitas” – out of touch with reality. That she was expecting to hear how a government of national unity would be formed, and when elections would be held. That she was ashamed that her party did not rise to the circumstance.
Samaras on the Warpath
Antonis Samaras, head of the main opposition party, is delivering his speech to Parliament as part of the vote of confidence in the government. He’s brutal and direct. He starts his speech referring to Mr. Papandreou: “He’s acting as if he didn’t understand what I told him. I asked him to resign. …. If he understood that I want to co-govern with him, he’s wrong. … For him, politics is parrots and false leaks. … But I will demonstrate that he has lied.”
Samaras recommends a non-political transitional government. He claims it is highly unlikely that Papandreou has created all this uncertainty in order to have the cooperation of the opposition – of himself.
His claim that on October 27th he agreed to the loan conditions as a necessity provoked a roar of disapproval by PASOK deputies.
He said point blank: “Mr Papandreou lies with an unbelievable ease. He told us that he informed the European leaders about the referendum. They denied this in Cannes.” He gave several more examples.
He claims he never requested a co-government, or that he wanted to enter a government, but that he wanted a non-political government, an acceptance of the terms of October 26th, and elections within 6 weeks.
He requests once again that Papandreou resigns, and that elections be held. He complains that Papandreou defames him in meetings with foreign leaders. He continues with a comparison to George Papandreou (the grandfather of the current premier), and the prevention of a vote in 1965. He contrasts this with 2011, where there are no elections because George Papandreou (the current premier) refuses them. “History repeats itself … as a farce.”
Harsh, brutal and perhaps unnecessary words. Given the vitriol, it’s very hard to see how these two politicians will agree on a government of national unity.
New Democracy is now withdrawing from the debate on the vote of confidence in the government.
Negotiations no doubt continue. But the terms are clear—the gauntlet has been thrown. George Papandreou will have to resign if he really wants a government of national unity.
© Philip Ammerman, 2011