ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won a parliamentary confidence vote on Saturday, avoiding snap elections which would have torpedoed Greece’s bailout deal and inflamed the euro zone’s economic crisis.
Papandreou’s socialist government won with all his party lawmakers in the 300 member parliament supporting the government, but his term as prime minister appeared close to an end.
Earlier Papandreou called for a new coalition government to approve the 130 billion euro bailout deal which is vital for saving the country from bankruptcy and tackling the euro zone’s economic crisis, and signaled he was ready to stand down.
Papandreou told parliament before the vote that he would go to the Greek president on Saturday to discuss formation of a broader-based government that would secure the euro zone bailout, Greece’s last financial lifeline, adding that he was willing to discuss who would head a new administration.
(editing by David Stamp)
Highlights of a speech by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to parliament on Friday before a confidence vote in his socialist government.
“The last thing I care about is my post. I don’t care even if I am not reelected. The time has come to make a new effort… I never thought of politics as a profession.”
“I have been in contact with the president and I will visit him tomorrow (Saturday) to inform him of my intentions and that I am moving forward with all the parties for a broader coalition government, and to agree on common goals, a timeframe and people, to agree on its composition and even the head of this coalition”
“If with my actions I can send a message that the country does not deserve to be abandoned… that will have been my biggest contribution to the nation.”
“I therefore ask for a vote of confidence in order to ensure the security of this nation.”
“Elections at this moment not only equal disaster but could not take place in the best interest of the people.”
“There is one solution. To support the (EU bailout) deal with a multiparty approach, without elections, with a strong government.”
“This (EU bailout) deal needs to be judged by the people once it is finalized because it can put the country on a new path.”
“We want to turn the page and move forward. I always moved forward, taking a risk, but always in the people’s best interest.”
“I believe a ‘yes’ (in the referendum) was certain, because I believe deeply that it was in the nation’s best interest.”
“I want to assure Greek citizens once more that with this (EU bailout) agreement there isn’t a problem with depositors.”
“Our country will emerge from the crisis faster. The deal does not mean cuts in wages and pensions. This deal gives us a huge opportunity, maybe even the last. This deal cannot go to waste. This deal will be put into practice in the next months.”
“Today we need the broader cooperation between parties because the changes we are making are historic.”
by Stephanie Ditta 5:11 AM