News / Europe

Greek Prime Minister to Step Down, Unity Government to be Formed

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou waves to journalists while exiting the Presidential Palace after a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and opposition leader Antonis Samaras, in Athens Sunday, Nov. 6 2011.
Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou waves to journalists while exiting the Presidential Palace after a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and opposition leader Antonis Samaras, in Athens Sunday, Nov. 6 2011.

Political leaders in Greece reached an agreement Sunday night to form a new unity government, a move that will allow the debt-ridden country to secure a European Union bailout.

In an effort to break the political deadlock, Greek President Karolos Papoulias hosted late, closed-door talks between Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras.

Throngs of reporters outside the gates of the presidential palace in Athens were on hand when word came a few hours later.

Greek Prime Minister Papandreou took power in 2009 with promises to create jobs, help the poor and pump life into a sagging economy. Instead, he found himself fighting to keep the country from sinking into bankruptcy and taking the entire global economy down with it.

Mr. Papandreou's grandfather, George, and his father Andreas, also were Greek prime ministers who helped shape contemporary Greek history.

The current prime minister was born in 1952 in the midwestern U.S. city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Andreas Papandreou had fled there to escape a severe right-wing Greek dictatorship in the late 1930s.

George Papandreou studied in the United States, Canada and Sweden before moving to Greece when democracy returned in 1974. He followed his family into the Socialist Party, winning a seat in parliament and holding several government posts, including foreign minister and party leader.

He became prime minister when the Socialists won the 2009 parliamentary elections.

Reporters from Greek national media read the statement from the president's office.

The statement said Mr. Papandreou and New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras had reached a preliminary agreement to form an interim government, and that Mr. Papandreou will not lead the new government.

The statement added that the two men are expected to meet again on Monday to discuss details of the plan, including who will lead the government to early elections.

Earlier Sunday, Samaras said the prime minister had to step aside. "He [i.e., Mr. Papandreou] is obstructing any solution.  And if he does not resign, he does not allow the constitution to operate properly.  So if he does resign, then things will go as they have to," he said.

Mr. Papandreou agreed to step aside as long as Athens could secure a loan that would help Greece avoid bankruptcy.  The nation's finance minister has said Greece needs $11 billion in bailout funds in the coming weeks to stay afloat.

Greek reaction to Sunday's developments are mixed.

A 22-year-old Athens man said he is not optimistic about his country's future, while a 33-year-old woman said she is hopeful about the political agreement. "Yes, I do feel positive.  If they finally did it, then I do feel positive because the country has to be represented in a unanimous way," she said.

The interim government is expected to get the Greek parliament and cabinet to accept the terms of a new European Union agreement, which requires Greece to raise taxes and make deeper cuts in government spending.

Late last month, Eurozone nations agreed to provide Greece with additional loans.  Mr. Papandreou then announced that he wanted to put the debt deal to a referendum.  He later withdrew the plan.

Eurozone finance ministers are set to meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss plans to release billions of dollars in bailout funds to Greece.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs