FOLLOWING Greek Prime Minister Yiorghos Papandreou’s calling of a referendum on the EU austerity programme, angry workers have called for his immediate resignation and for an immediate general election.
Nikos Panousis, a civil servants trade union leader at the Interior Ministry, said: ‘we want the government out now, we don’t want a referendum!’
Other trade unionists and workers said that Papandreou should leave immediately and a general election be held.
But workers stressed that if a referendum is held then they will vote ‘fanatically’, as they put it, against the EU imposed deal.
The announcement by Papandreou sent the Athens Stock Exchange diving over six per cent by yesterday lunchtime.
There were angry reactions by all political parties as well as government parliamentary deputies; one resigned, leaving the government majority in the Vouli (Greek parliament) at just two.
Six members of the Pasok (government party) Executive have called for the resignation of Papandreou and for a general election.
An ex-Minister of Pasok called for the immediate formation of a ‘national government’ which will carry out a general election.
A discussion in the Vouli for a vote of confidence in the government is under way, to be concluded this Friday evening.
But the political upheaval is such that the government might fall even before Friday’s vote.
This frantic response and panic by the whole Greek capitalist system is a result of the 19-20 October 48-hour truly colossal general strike and subsequent massive and spontaneous demonstrations, strikes and occupations by Greek workers and youth against the Papandreou ‘junta’.
Last week, eurozone leaders agreed on a 100bn-euro loan (£86bn; $140bn) to Athens and a 50% debt write-off.
In return, Greece agreed to make deep cuts in public spending, slashing pensions and wages and making thousands of civil servants redundant.
An MP from Papandreou’s Pasok party, Vasso Papandreou (no relation) called for a government of national unity.
‘I call on the president to convene the council of political leaders with the goal of forming a government of national salvation in view of safeguarding the EU package agreed on 27 October, and then to immediately hold elections,’ he said.
Antonis Samaras, leader of the opposition New Democrats, met Greek President Karolos Papoulias for talks yesterday morning.