Greek PM says goodbye
ATHENS – Outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou has made his farewell address to the nation pledging to keep Greece in the euro and respect the terms of the European Union bailout deal.
Greece’s political parties have been holding three days of talks to hammer out details of a unity government.
Papandreou gave no indication of who his successor might be but said a new government had now been agreed.
Without the bailout, Greece risks bankruptcy and an exit from the euro.
Under the terms of the deal, Greece must enact further austerity measures in return for a bailout of 130billion euros (£111billion= US$178billion) and a write-off of half the Greek debt held by private lenders.
Papandreou has met President Carolos Papoulios, and was expected to formally tender his resignation.
However, the deal on the new government appeared to have hit a snag. The BBC understands the smallest party in the proposed coalition, Laos, walked out of the talks with the president and the two other parties, Papandreou’s centre-left Pasok party and New Democracy, on the centre-right.
The name of the new prime minister was due to be announced after the meeting and a new government sworn in tonight.
In his address, Papandreou said: “In the next few months, we will do whatever is required, not only to remain in the euro but to take advantage of the benefits of the agreement of October 26-27 [the EU bailout deal].”
He also said the new government would tackle tax evasion and bring greater transparency to the public finances.
But he did not say who his successor might be.
“It was obvious that in order to achieve this historic agreement, we would have to find a person who had everyone’s support,” Papandreou said.
“I believe this choice is very important. My role would never be an obstacle to this national unity.” (BBC)