Referendum Dropped!

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PREMIER Papandreou told the Greek parliament yesterday that he was now adopting a ‘national position’ and was discussing with the right-wing New Democratic Party which was now prepared ‘to vote for the new loan agreement’.

He described his referendum proposal as ‘a beneficial shock’ but added that a defeat for it would have meant Greece leaving the EU. He was now preparing a discussion with New Democracy on a ‘new programme’ for a national government and would be facing the motion of no confidence in the Vouli today.

The referendum proposal was therefore dropped.

As he was speaking to MPs tens of thousands of Greek workers and youth were in the streets demanding his resignation.

Mass demonstrations and marches to the Vouli are to take place today.

On Thursday, the main opposition leader Antonis Samaras, of the right-wing New Democracy party, called for a national unity government to safeguard the EU deal, but insisted that Papandreou could not be part of it.

Greek workers in telecommunications, media and heavy industry are now engaged in bitter fights against wage cuts and mass sackings.

Greek Telecom, now under the control of German Telecom and banks, and Greek Steel have announced a 35-hour week with reduced wages.

The treacherous Greek Telecom trade unions’ leaders have accepted the management’s proposal but workers are up in arms about it.

At the Greek Steel plant, in the town of Elefsnina 20 miles from Athens, the union declared continuous 24-hour strikes which are backed by all the town’s trade unions. Greek Steel want to sack 40 per cent of the workforce.

The leading Greek daily Eleftherotypia has announced that a bank loan has been refused and journalists and staff are deciding on strike action.

This month, over half a million pensioners received a pensions cut of between 20 and 40 per cent.

Daily throughout Greece, families and pensioners who cannot afford to pay the high electricity bills are waging a physical struggle against Greek Electricity Board’s staff sent to cut off the electricity supply.

Prime Minister Papandreou said last Wednesday night after meeting with German Chancellor Merkel, French President Sarkozy and IMF Director Lagarde in Cannes, that a referendum will be held in Greece ‘most probably’ on December 4th.

In a joint press conference, Merkel and Sarkozy stated that the October 27 EU-IMF agreement on Greece is now on hold until the situation in Greece is cleared up.

The agreement includes another bailout of some 130bn euros along with a 50 per cent ‘haircut’ of Greek state bonds. Le Monde stated that, according to the French Finance Ministry, by December Greece would run out of cash.

Yesterday morning, the Finance Minister E Venizelos and scores of PASOK (government party) parliamentary deputies were publicly stating that they are against the holding of a referendum, while another PASOK deputy resigned from the party leaving a government majority of just one in the Vouli.

The ex-minister Vasso Papandreou once again immediately demanded a ‘government of national unity to safeguard the EC-IMF agreement of the 26/27 October and hold a general election’, a plan openly supported by the capitalist media.