News / Europe

    Greek PM: Talks to Begin Soon on Coalition Government

    Greece's President Karolos Papoulias (R) welcomes Prime Minister George Papandreou at his office inside the Presidential Palace in Athens, November 5, 2011.
    Greece's President Karolos Papoulias (R) welcomes Prime Minister George Papandreou at his office inside the Presidential Palace in Athens, November 5, 2011.

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says talks will soon begin on forming a new coalition government that will secure continued bailout funds.

    Papandreou made his remarks following a meeting Saturday with Greek President Carolos Papoulias, and hours after surviving a no-confidence vote in parliament.

    The prime minister won the vote after saying he was willing to discuss a power-sharing government to approve a bailout deal vital for saving Greece from bankruptcy and stabilizing countries that use the euro currency.

    It is not clear if main opposition conservatives and other parties will take part in the talks and drop a demand for early general elections.

    Papandreou has warned that calling for early elections would be disastrous.

    On Friday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Greece desperately needs the next $11 billion installment of its existing $150 billion bailout.  European leaders and the International Monetary Fund have said Greece would not get another cent if it backs out of its bailout agreement.

    On Thursday, Papandreou scrapped a plan for a referendum on the bailout that had angered world leaders trying to formulate the eurozone rescue.  

    The prime minister faced enormous international pressure to call off the referendum.  He said the vote was a political move to get Greek opposition to support the bailout plan.  He scrapped the referendum plan after the opposition lawmakers said they would support the bailout.

    Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras has demanded Papandreou's resignation, saying he had jeopardized Greece's world financial standing by calling for the referendum.

    Samaras also called for the creation of a transitional government to prepare for early elections.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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