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Greek referendum roadshow hits Cannes: Exploring the gamespace

by talos Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 08:55:25 AM EST

As the Greek Prime Minister is already in Cannes to meet with the G20 leaders and "discuss" the prospect of a referendum on the rescue package, I'll try to outline some possible outcomes originating from Papandreou's decision, and hopefully start a discussion on the dynamic of the current situation as a whole...

Let me start with four presuppositions:

  1. I still believe that Papandreou's game is aimed internally at Greece and that he will fold tonight under G20 pressure (basically Merkozy)
  2. The worldwide explosion that the possibility of referring austerity to be judged by its victims caused, a basic process of democratic legitimization, shows that the Greek government either purposefully or through its incompetence failed to protect its population both during the spring of 2010 and the summer of 2011, from at least the more outrageous of the troika's demands, although it could have. Greece was then even more so the most powerful country in the world. A 2010 threat to pass acceptance of the IMF programme through a popular plebiscite, would have seriously and drastically reduced the scope of the shock therapy Greece was put through or eliminated it all together, with very important effects on global austeritarian dominance hence.
  3. There is no real way that a referendum on the 26/10 deal can be held on January (or any other month for that matter) in Greece. The real threat is the threat of a sustained threat.
  4. The Greek PM is reacting to increasing social unrest in Greece, and is possibly at this point worrying even for his physical safety, but certainly about the fact that he is right now one of the most despised figures in Greek political history. The referendum idea is the result of a panicked reaction to massive popular pressure. Especially the shock of the massive and ubiquitous protests on the 28th of October national holiday which were literally unprecedented...

So let's examine what the real stakes and strategies are going to be tonight, if only to get a grasp of what is in the cards and what are possible outcomes for the players in this game...

front-paged by afew


Let's start with goals: Sarko and Angela's goals have a lot to do with preserving the European banking system and avoiding a eurozone crash. Papandreou's goals can either be internal (preserving as much as possible of his political present, future and legacy as possible) or external (achieving the best result for whatever he considers as Greek National Interest), or a combination of both.

George A. Papandreou (GAP henceforth) arrives at Cannes and meets the Big Players. What happens then?

Scenario 1. Papandreou persists in his decision to hold a referendum to ratify the new memorandum deal. In this case Sarkozy and Merkel (S&M henceforth) can either:

1a. Say "We respect your sovereign right to do so, we will support you in your 'yes' campaign". In this case GAP goes home happy, but immediately a demand for referenda on the same basis arises in IE, PT, SP, IT with bond spreads reaching astronomical heights and IT and SP becoming EFSF material (this would be what would happen if GAP never mentioned anything about a referendum, at a slightly slower pace). Italy is already too big, the 26.10.11 deal, can't accommodate it, the Greek referendum has no object any more, and as French spreads lift off the eurozone is doomed. Papandreou lives to fight another day, slightly empowered, yet with the same economic and social mess he is governing getting worse. He might possibly survive the defeat - but it is doubtful. Anyway the collapse of the rescue package will make developments in Greece secondary and certainly not centered around any referendum.

1b. S&M tell GAP that if he insists on a referendum there is no "rescue pact", the deal is off, Greece receives no money until a new deal is discussed and he can either back off or not have anything to refer to a referendum. This is what the market expects today as its indices show, and that's the official line it seems. This is important because if government sources are to be trusted the Greek government has liquidity right now for up to the 20th of November or something, so that there might be a cessation of internal payments at the end of the month. Mid-December there are 4 billion euros in debt, maturing.

To this Papandreou can either:

1b-i: Fold. In which case the markets will be temporarily happy but I can't imagine how he can return to Greece and continue to govern. The political crisis in Greece will renew fears about its ability to persist on the path to self-destruction that the "rescue package" entails. This will also be an indirect admission of sovereignty loss. So after a brief respite we will be where we were a few days ago but with GAP's government collapsing immediately. With all the effects that will have on the bond markets and the "rescue packages"...

1b-ii: Bargain: Insist on some minor modification or some sort of investment deal, anything that he can return to Greece with in triumph. He will be needing something to spin back at home, and pretty much even the slightest departure from the current plan will be used by his government and the MSM that support him in quasi-soviet near-unanimity, as proof of his great tactical talents or something. This will not work, but might mitigate the government's disaster and give it a lease of life for couple of months. With 17,5% unemployment at last count, falling wages and PASOK around 14% in the polls, it will have to be a pretty darn impressive modification to even raise an eyebrow. So we're back to political instability in Greece and elections. In all Greek election scenarios note that the pre-election period lasts about a month. In this month one can assume that markets will be jittery at least - and by then Italy at least might have exploded fiscally all by itself...

1b-iii: Defy: Papandreou could call the bluff and insist that he cannot accept any deal without popular legitimization. This would be lovely IMHO but unless he is certain that S&M will back down, since Greece must also be in a position to act on a possible immediate default, he can't do it: there are absolutely no preparations for such an event on the ground. If S&M back down we're back to 1a. If they don't, Greece defaults immediately and hard and the Eurozone quite possibly unravels taking its banking system down the hole with it. IMHO S&M cannot let Greece default hard right now, but GAP, I remind you intends to support the "rescue package" deal in the referendum. He will not, I think, push this too far.

Scenario 2: Papandreou goes to Cannes to bargain. This leads to 1b-ii but from a weaker initial position for Greece.

Scenario 3: Papandreou goes to Cannes to explain himself and change the subject. An anodyne formulation of the referendum question will be accepted and no one loses face immediately. This too is a likely scenario and IMHO what GAP was aiming for to begin with. In this case markets can be happy until the next crisis, or the next bout of riots in Greece or the next tax revolt, and Papandreou can pretend he stayed firm and try to milk this for all the political credit he can get. Whether anyone will show up for some unsignificant referendum is another matter. It will do nothing to address the rage on the Greek streets though. I remind everyone that the November 17th commemoration is coming up, in honor of the Polytechnic school's student uprising against the military junta in 1973, an event that has inspired and has been part of the new set of anti-government slogans for half a year now. Street fights and havoc occured even in non-emergency years. This year, it look like it is going to be very intense...

I note that the referendum question is rumored to be some variation of "yes of no to the euro". Which even if it is a close race (possible), never mind if polls show that the no vote will prevail, sets fire to the eurozone and bond markets as much as an actual vote.

Scenario 4. Papandreou goes there to submit and folds. This is scenario 1b-i, but even worse for GAP.

Scenario 5. The issue is left unresolved. This will induce sudden death for Italy, almost certainly.

Thus: an unstable and weak rescue package might be under all scenarios pushed to a quicker death. There is no meaningful referendum that can be held, either because there can't be anything to vote on if the deal is put on hold, either because events in Italy and Spain will make it obsolete before it is finalized enough to be put to a vote, either because the wording of the referendum will make it irrelevant, either because the Greek government falls before the referendum is decided in parliament. However the prospect of Greece rejecting the "rescue package" once out of the bottle, cannot be put back. Strong pressure for referenda in other peripheral countries might possibly arise. There will be political instability in Greece and huge uncertainty that is going to stoke the fires of the markets and destroy a decrepit deal. So events have been accelerated. Let's see how it all plays out.

So that's my take on things, just a few thoughts and an outline of what might be coming up... it might be interesting to explore possible outcomes in the discussion.

Display:
Not that I truly believe that anything good will happen this week, but imagine the stars line up and two or three key people have an epiphany.

Call it the Deus Ex Machina scenario.

  1. If the Euro turned out to have a central bank, i.e. market maker of last resort, the pressure is off Italy, France etc, and the cost to Greece of the "rescue" may become more palatable too.

  2. The Eurozone / EU / central bank / IMF / G20 come up with an investment package to tackle Greece's competitivity issues. Ponies for everyone.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 08:58:06 AM EST
My head is spinning reading your scenarios...I do not expect anything good, whatever happens. The whole game stinks; there is no logic anywhere to be found. Let alone fairness. Honestly I believe the hell is in front of us and they are just trying to take our attention off the obvious.
Greece is doomed. Now it's about the rest.
They made such a fuss about Greece (and even now it's just a few hundred of billions, and billions are simply not what they used to be...they look more like millions used to look) while trillions of dollars had been wiped off from the market in one single day, yesterday. So please...I am at the point to stop reading news. I feel like I am in "twilight zone"...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 09:40:53 AM EST
He will not fold.

He has thought all this through and has decided he will not fold under any circumstances.

None of the reaction is a surprise.

He was prepared for this PRIOR to announcing the referendum.

Proof? What immediately passed through your mind when you first heard of the referendum?

You instantly understood the gravity.

Despite the portrayal of GAP as being clueless to the previous gov'ts muddled statistics, he knew all along what he was getting into. He was not "surprised" at all. None of this is a mystery.

by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 09:49:26 AM EST
I was definitely wrong.

What was this then?

Complete screw up?

Shot over the bow as he exited?

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:18:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was a desperate gamble to solve the immidiate parliament situation. Anything to last another day as PM - watch today's antics with non-resignations.

I think to mount any clever strategy he needs first to realise how deeply he has been fooled, how he will go down in history as a disaster for his country and his party and how his Serious advisors were full of shit and the rabble was right. Few can to that, in particular under the kind of stress he and his inner circle must be under. Without knowing him, I would guess that he is well and truly committed and will claim to his death-bed that if only epople had supported him just a little bit more, everything would have turned around.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: EFSF postpones €3bn bond issue
Europe's rescue fund postponed its bond deal on Wednesday because of market turbulence caused by Greece's decision to call a referendum on last week's eurozone plan to bail the country out and stem the region's debt crisis.

Many investors were unwilling to buy the debt because of the market volatility and the lack of clarity over the structure of the European Financial Stability Facility, which is still being decided as policy-makers attempt to increase its leverage and fire-power.

The EFSF will attempt to issue the planned €3bn 10-year bond deal in the next two weeks. It had been earmarked to price on Wednesday and was due to help finance the rescue of Ireland.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:38:22 AM EST
has done us all a favour by showing what a fragile heap of horsecrud last week's pseudo-agreement really was. It might have held for a couple of weeks -- allowed a few expensive bond issues, to make sure that doubt creeps in slowly -- before another crisis would take them by surprise, yet again. They never see anything coming.

"The markets" are blithely back to onwards-and-upwards. Nasty shocks coming.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:43:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, we said days or weeks.

I wasn't expecting so few days, but there you go.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah...
No later than November 7.

I saw that date mentioned for a scheduled Ecofin or Eurogroup meeting. Also, there will be an ECB Council meeting and Draghi's first press conference as ECB Chair on Thursday, November 3.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph [UK]: Bail-out fund chief tells China Euro bonds are 'attractive investments'
Mr Regling, who is due to meet officials from China's central bank and finance ministry, said he wanted to hear how the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) could structure investments to attract funds.

He said: "The foreign exchange reserves of China go up every month, therefore there is a need for investment."

"That's also my experience talking to the Chinese authorities that they are interested in finding attractive, solid, safe investment opportunities. And I am happy that EFSF bonds have been considered to be in that category in the past, and therefore I am optimistic that we will have also a longer-term relationship because we will continue to provide safe, attractive investment opportunities," he added.

None of that "past performance is no guarantee of future performance" for you, Herr Regling?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where does Germany's CA surplus go?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:55:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Commission: China
Trade in goods
  • EU goods exports to China 2010: €113.1 billion (+38% on 2009)
  • EU goods imports from China 2010: €281.9 billion (+31% on 2009)

EU's imports from China are mainly industrial goods: machinery and transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles. EU's exports to China are also concentrated on industrial products: machinery & transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods and chemicals.

Trade in services

  • EU services exports to China 2010: €20.2 billion
  • EU services imports from China 2010: €16.3 billion

Foreign Direct Investment
  • EU inward investment to China 2010: €4.9 billion
  • China inward investment to EU 2010: €0.9 billion


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:59:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Mr Regling, who is due to meet officials from China's central bank and finance ministry, said he wanted to hear how the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) could structure investments to attract funds.

Well, they could cut it up into tranches and mix junk (Greek bonds) with better quality (German), so that the composite would obtain an AAA rating.

Oh wait...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarko and Angela's goals have a lot to do with preserving the European banking system and avoiding a eurozone crash.

Their goals are entirely about the next elections they have to face at home.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:44:16 AM EST
Would failing to preserve their domestic banking systems and overseeing the collapse of the Eurozone help them in their upcoming elections, or hurt them?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)

- The Evil Overlord List, Article 24

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fitch statement on Greek referendum

What's next, presidential and parliamentary endorsements from the ratings agencies?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:47:00 AM EST
"In for a penny, in for a pound" thinking will carry one quite a ways, especially when the initial decision was made under great pressure and the immediate consequences were not, initially, blatantly obvious and when the pressure has only increased since the initial decision. Since last week he and his cabinet clearly realize the consequences of "staying the course" could be living under the constant threat of death from the people and going down in history as national traitors. Until recently the choices might not have seemed so stark and dire.

I recall a magazine description of an American ivy league college psychology class experiment from the '70s. A slide projector with a motorized focus drive was used to project an image on a screen, starting at a total blur and ending in full focus. Every desk had a button which could be pressed and the students were instructed to write down their the answer as soon as they recognized the image and to then push the button. Students were assigned seats with numbers and the results were recorded. If they realized they had made an error they were to again press the button, scratch through their previous answer and write the new one. The slide was of a well known Impressionist painting. Most of the students had wildly incorrect initial answers, but a significant number sat for at least a full minute after the image came into full focus before they either realized and/or admitted their error. I do not recall other results, but I would not be surprised to learn that some of the best students were among the last to press the button the second time.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:58:30 AM EST
Talos, thank you for the lucid analysis.

I was hoping this moment of truth to arrive only next year, with most of the present Council members replaced by elections, but here it is. By Christmas Europe can already be a very different place. Can these pathetic leaders take the ship home without wrecking it?

Vencit omnia veritas.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 11:30:02 AM EST
I wasn't even expecting the Eurozone to last until Draghi's first press conference.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 11:51:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you lift your eyes from the details and look at the bigger picture, it all comes down to the ECB.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 12:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The bigger picture is that the Eurozone is adamant in its determination that the ECB shall not be a lender of last resort in the sovereign bond market, lest there is inflation.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 01:10:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the ECB would need to be a lender of last resort at this stage. The Eurozone has (had?) enough internal savings to support the PIIGS deficits, but alas, the rating agencies do not agree with that.

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 02:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rating agencies or not, the lack of demand for PIIGS debt is pushing yields up to such a high level that total interest rate expenditure becomes impossible to cover, which increases the risk of default, which further reduces demand and pushes yields up, in a self-reinforcing death spiral. Someone has to put the foot down, either by pushing yields down (throgh acting as a lender of last resort), or by creating a plan where PIIGS-countries start defaulting in a controlled way (ie inlcuding bank recapitalisations etc). It seems to me that both of these options will require a very big bazooka, or a panzerschreck rather, and that no one but the ECB has one big enough. Even if I suppose the ESFS might be big enough to recapitalise those banks that neither the market nor weak eurozone sovereigns can fix themselves, after sovereign defaults have blown large holes in their balance sheets.

As a matter of fact, I prefer the latter plan, as it spreads the pain to the creditors. PIIGS-populations will suffer enough, with austerity rolling in, and a post-default problem to borrow to cover deficits. Unless the ECB/IMF can't be convinced to help out then.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 02:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AGI.it: BARROSO: FOR GREECE A NO TO BAILOUT IS WORSE THAN AUSTERITY
"I want to launch a very urgent and heart-felt appeal for the political and national unity of Greece - Barroso stated - Without Greece's consent to the plan supported by the EU and the IMF, the citizens' conditions would become much more painful, especially for the most vulnerable, and the consequences would be unpredictable".
(see also)

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 01:34:56 PM EST
the consequences would be unpredictable

Threatingly enough to scare people, opaque enough to maintan deniability if confronted about threatening people.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 02:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Threatingly? Is that even a word? Threateningly, I mean.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 02:48:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Through the amazing ability of English to morph everything into anything by piling on the prefixes and suffixes:  Yes.

"Threateningly" is the adverbial form of "threatening."

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 03:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Count Yanis Varoufakis among the unimpressed:

Time to resign Mr Papandreou:

Perhaps the most damaging of all aspects of your referendum idea is that it will solidify in the rest of Europe's collective mind the false impression that the problem is Greece; causing our partners to remain in denial about the roots of our collective problems in the eurozone's design.

Mr Papandreou, you have caused enough damage to the Greek nation; indeed, to Europe. It is time to dismantle your tent, pack it up, and steal gracefully into the night.



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 03:21:05 PM EST
The question is why did Papandreou made the move now (he could have waited to receive the sixth tranche and call for the referendum afterwards).

Well, the answer is here:
Schäuble (in Der Spiegel interview): The heads of state and government of the euro zone, including those from Portugal and Ireland, have unanimously emphasized once again that Greece is a unique, exceptional case that calls for a special solution. In exchange for continued and more long-term assistance from the members of the euro zone, Greece will have to take tough measures and accept much closer supervision. You could also say that it will temporarily relinquish some of its sovereignty. I don't think that any country would willingly submit to such severe measures, unless driven by the direst of circumstances.

And also here:
The Department of Finance has confirmed that an accounting error means Ireland's debt is €3.6bn lower than previously thought.

And here:
Portugal is to ask the European Union and International Monetary Fund for changes to its €78bn financial rescue agreement to help lift the country's debt-stricken economy out of recession.

So Papandreou obviously saw a set up by Merkozy, in which Greece was becoming the scapegoat and the example while at the same time better terms would be given to Ireland and Portugal. That's why he played a card he has kept in his hand for quite some time. I do not know if this a good move or not, I am just trying to understand why he was quick to play that card now instead of waiting for just a couple of weeks or so.


"Eurozone leaders have turned a €50bn Greek solvency problem into a €1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband

by Kostis Papadimitriou on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 04:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the "fluidity" of things this is pure speculation but:

  1. Referendum goes forward
  2. Referendum goes fast (enough so that things do not self-destroy during this period)
  3. Result is a yes to "stay in the Euro" (i.e. endless austerity)

Status quo gets out of this reinforced.
by cagatacos on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 04:01:37 PM EST
I do not know how to square this with the amount of refinancing needed in the meantime... But this is my gut feeling
by cagatacos on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 04:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC is reporting that it will be on 5 or 6 December.  European leaders are pushing the line that its about "staying in the Eurozone".

So, a stacked question to pushthe desired result?

by IdiotSavant on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 06:38:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, go ahead and hold your referendum. But you need the €8 billion that are due next week right? So you've got to provide all the guarantees that you will apply the agreement, right now, before you get the payout... i.e. you've got to pre-empt the result of the referendum, because we don't actually give a #@*r$¤ what the Greek electors think.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 06:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkozy press conference on TV.
Jean Quatremer just tackled them about the "brutal Franco-German directorate"... Sarko does a number about how hard it is to shoulder the White Man's Burden...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 06:43:02 PM EST
So I pretty much called it a couple of nights ago:

...Papandreou will be coerced into cancelling the referendum or explaining that it will really be about something else entirely...
... Greek government rescinds the referendum tomorrow or the day after, bond spreads having skyrocketed, tumble back to lower levels, but obvious political instability in Greece keeps stoking the crisis, and together with other aspects of reality bring the Eurozone to an existential face off...

I just saw Merkel and Sarkozy announce the topic of a referendum, which was different from that which until an hour ago all spokespeople for the Greek government were claiming would be put to vote and the date that the referendum will be held, a month from now, despite initial plans to have the referendum in January so that the content of the deal made on October 26 could be known and discussed thoroughly. This on an issue which they do not have any authority since they cannot impose an exit from the Eurozone for anyone. They are also tying payment of the last tranche to the result of the referendum, something which GAP also noted in the interview he was allowed in some corridor.

Anybody still think he has a global strategy? I only hope he falls before he has the opportunity to cause even more damage.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 07:36:09 PM EST
Well, it is their money. They have the right to respond to the referendum in any way they wish. They can say what they want about the referendum as well, but beware: if they are perceived as fixing the terms of the referendum, they will lose.
by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 at 10:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if the referendum question is between Austerity and leaving the Euro, and the voters boycott the referendum and the result isn't binding?

Matina Stevis: Hitchhikers' Guide To Greek Politics (November 2)

The Greek constitution is open to interpretation with regard to the referendum, outlined in Article 44. This says that a referendum bill on a national or social issue, formally presented by the president of the Republic at the behest of one or more of the parties (in this case the government), must get an absolute majority-151 of 300 votes-in parliament to go ahead.

However, the constitution points out that if the subject-matter of the referendum is fiscal, the majority requirement is raised to three-fifths, i.e. 180 votes.

In order for the referendum result to be heeded, turnout must exceed 40% of the electorate.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 03:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where does the last sentence come from? Here is article 44
Article 44

1. Under extraordinary circumstances of an urgent and unforeseeable need, the President of the Republic may, upon the proposal of the Cabinet, issue acts of legislative content. Such acts shall be submitted to Parliament for ratification, as specified in the provisions of article 72 paragraph 1, within forty days of their issuance or within forty days from the convocation of a parliamentary session. Should such acts not be submitted to Parliament within the above time-limits or if they should not be ratified by Parliament within three months of their submission, they will henceforth cease to be in force.

* 2. The President of the Republic shall by decree proclaim a referendum on crucial national matters following a resolution voted by an absolute majority of the total number of Members of Parliament, taken upon proposal of the Cabinet.

A referendum on Bills passed by Parliament regulating important social matters, with the exception of the fiscal ones shall be proclaimed by decree by the President of the Republic, if this is decided by three-fifths of the total number of its members, following a proposal of two-fifths of the total number of its members, and as the Standing Orders and the law for the application of the present paragraph provide. No more than two proposals to hold a referendum on a Bill can be introduced in the same parliamentary term.

Should a Bill be voted, the time-limit stated in article 42 paragraph 1 begins the day the referendum is held.

* 3. The President of the Republic may under exceptional circumstances address messages to the People with the consent opinion of the Prime Minister. Those messages should be countersigned by the Prime Minister and published in the Government Gazette.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 01:50:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Greek referendum to be held by December 4
Last night's mini-summit pushed George Papandreou to bring forward the date of the referendum, and to frame it in terms of continued euro membership; Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy suspend all payments to Greece until the referendum; Merkel said the referendum had changed the psychological situation massively; a Sarkozy aide calls the referendum "totally crazy";Berlin and Paris fear that Papandreou might use the referendum as a lever to renegotiate the package; there is still uncertainty about the actual questions asked: A Greek government spokesman said it will about the package, not about euro membership as such; the eurozone' s inept crisis management derails Sarkozy's well staged G20 summit; Antonis Samaras says he favours Greek euro membership, but rejects austerity; Alexis Papachelas says Papandreou is irresponsible and Samaras is hypocritical; Ralf Schuller of Bild calls on Merkel to stop all payments for Greece; Martin Winter argues that the crisis shows that the eurozone has no effective political leadership;the "euro war cabinet" has been meeting repeatedly since their first impromptu meeting in Frankfurt; the troika starts its second quarterly assessment for Portugal next week; Belgium's government negotiating parties agreed €11.3bn in budget cuts; the Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney will succeed Mario Draghi as head of the FSB; Wolfgang Proissl urges Mario Draghi to ignore the Germans and step up the SMP; the EFSF delays its 10-year bond issue; Juan Crespo draws comparisons with Francois Mitterrand's referendum in 1992; Stathis Kalyvas, meanwhile, says Papandreou is taking a big gamble, but may yet win.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 03:23:28 AM EST
Statement by Ev. Venizelos from Cannes
Upon arrival to Athens from Cannes at 4.45 am, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Evangelos  Venizelos, made the following statement:
Greece's position within the euro area is a historic conquest of the country that cannot be put in doubt. This acquis by the Greek people cannot depend on a referendum.

The country must feel safe and stable and that is the first requirement in order for it to be truly safe and stable. Greek banks are totally secure, as an integral part of the European banking system. This was apparent last night from the discussion in Cannes.

What is important is for the sixth tranche to be disbursed, without any distractions or delay, according to the decisions of Eurogroup of October 26, which came as a result of 10 hours of hard negotiations.

The next step is to activate, before the end of the year, the new support programme that provides Greece with an additional 130 billion euro and leads to a reduction of Greek sovereign debt of about 100 billion euro. The completion of these processes is a national project.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 04:20:21 AM EST
BBC News - G20 leaders meet amid signs of splits over Greece vote

Greece's finance minister has broken ranks with his prime minister over the country's planned referendum on its latest bailout package.

Evangelos Venizelos said the poll must not be a vote on Greece's future in the eurozone, and said new bailout funds must be released immediately.

Greece's prime minister and eurozone leaders have tied vote to whether Greece remains part of the euro bloc.

The issue is likely to dominate Thursday's G20 meeting in Cannes.

Mr Venizelos issued a statement in the early hours of Thursday after attending crisis talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 04:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, Venizelos knew of the referendum beforehand. There were people watching him when it was announced and it was absolutely clear he knew.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:36:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a revolt among the PASOK MPs, and at least three of its MPs have stated unequivocally that they will not give the government a confidence vote. The government is history.

It is rumored that the PM is heading to the President's office to resign. Various interim National Unity governments (a who is who of neolib and IMF faithful) are being proposed, supposedly caretaker to agree with the "rescue plan" which seems to incude absolutely unpalatable terms and conditions. The only legitimate solution is elections. And at this point everything is up in the air...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 06:42:39 AM EST
He clearly did it on purpose. I suppose his only option now is to exile himself to the US whence he came from?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 06:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,795297,00.html

Europe is stunned. The Greek prime minister wants to allow the people to vote on the euro rescue plan for their country. Georgios Papandreou is putting all his eggs in one basket -- but he has made the right decision.
...Regardless how the referendum's question is eventually worded, the Greeks will be voting on whether their country will remain in the euro zone or leave the single currency. The government could ask its citizens a very direct question: "Do you want to continue using the euro or go back to the drachma?"
...The formula for European apocalypse goes something like this: First Greece drops out, then Portugal and Spain fall, and then Italy pushes the single currency over the cliff. If they're lucky, all that will remain is a northern European euro mini-zone.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 07:36:08 AM EST
Yia'sou is Greek for both hello and goodbye.

I don't know why you say yia'sou, I say yia'sou.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:00:41 AM EST
BBC News - Greek eurozone crisis
Breaking News

Prime Minister Papandreou is to go to the country's president within the next half hour. He will offer to stand down to allow a coalition government to take power.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:09:41 AM EST
Stock markets up...

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:43:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Europe shares rally on hopes Greek vote ditched
Greece's government seemed to be on the brink of collapse, fuelling investor hopes that Prime Minister George Papandreou's planned vote on the rescue package could be abandoned and the package could be quickly activated.

...

Last week's relief rally, sparked after euro zone leaders unveiled fresh measures to help Greece and fight the region's debt crisis, was wiped out this week on nagging fears over Italy's finances and Greece's call for a referendum on a bailout, a move that threatens the region's efforts to stop the contagion from the Greek debt crisis.

Despite sharp gains made in October, global equities saw net outflows over the past four weeks, with U.S. and emerging stock markets the most affected while in Europe, net flows reached breakeven, according to data from Societe Generale Cross Asset Research team.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 09:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously "the market" believes that when the government falls it will be to a caretaker government composed of IMF-friendly civil servants, who do not need to stand for re-election and therefore will not stand on such democratic niceties as popular approval of their "emergency measures."

In other words, the stock market is cheering for a coup d'etat in all but name. Do we dare call it treason now?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
@YanniKouts
ND's Samaras asks for an interim gov't to pass bailout deal and subsequently hold early elections.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He asked to pass the bailout deal, did he?

Everyone is shocked!!!

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greek crisis: Papandreou 'to offer to resign'

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to offer his resignation within the next half-hour, sources in Athens have told the BBC.

Mr Papandreou will meet Greek President Karolos Papoulios immediately after an emergency cabinet meeting has finished.

He is expected to offer a coalition government, with former Greek central banker Lucas Papademos at the helm.

Mr Papandreou himself would stand down, the BBC understands.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what now? Are people on the streets again?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 09:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15570986

Now they say it's not truth...He will not resign...what a mess.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:10:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is hanging on until a unity gov't is formed, so as not to reward ND.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro zone debt crisis | Page 7 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
BREAKING: Greek referendum will not go ahead if major parties reach political agreement - PM office source
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:15:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@EfiEfthimiou
#Greece Ok, more news. Pap says he wont resign and withdraws ref as Samaras has accepted to back the new deal!!! capital.gr/News.asp?id=13...


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:17:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He has to resign obviously but not before they bat back ND's calls for a new election.

This is why the referendum is out and why he is hanging on until the unity gov't is agreed to.

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek crisis: Government on the brink as PM holds crucial talks | Business | guardian.co.uk
Breaking news from Athens -- leaks from the cabinet meeting show that Papandreou has acknowledged that he can't hold the referendum, as exiting the eurozone would endanger Greece's future. Friday night's vote of confidence is still going ahead, though (it appears).

Helena Smith has the details:

Papandreou, while willing to form a government of national unity that would include the main opposition conservative party New Democracy, is still insisting on the confidence vote going ahead tomorrow night.

Greek TV stations are reporting that the beleaguered leader is about to dispatch some of his senior lieutenants to ND's party HQ to negotiate the creation of a unity government. Yiannis Michelakis, the party's spokeman, has just told Mega TV that if formed the administration would be "transitional" and would have one priority -- to ratify the debt deal that has triggered this latest phase of the crisis.

Early elections would then be held.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what's this farce with "national unity government"? Is it created to stop protests and take blame from his government cause obviously new "united" government WILL vote to accept EU deal ( that's why it is going to be created).He was also about to accept the deal until referendum ploy.
What a fucking mess.
This is hard to watch. EU/USA are doing to Greece same what they have done to dying Gaddafi. They are mistreating the corpse...That is where this civilisation has come.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 09:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the farce as it looks from here:
  1. The opposition threatens to vote 'no' against the government on the EU's austerity programme
  2. The government threatens a popular referendum where the result is likely to be 'no'
  3. The opposition agrees to support the government's programme
  4. The government folds, a unity government is formed including the opposition, and austerity is approved before new elections.
Is there any logic to it? The only conclusion is that both the government and the opposition are hypocritical.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 09:37:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Under such circumstances I see little reason why a new government could not repudiate the agreements. One of the big issues is that of whose legal system is used to litigate issues over Greek debt, but Greece is still under the authority of the Greek government, if only any would take notice. And by that time so much damage is likely to have occurred in rest of the EU that the whole terms of discussion will have changed. But then I am an incurable optimist.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the whole point of the threat of the referendum was to force the opposition to share in the resulting opprobrium? The joke is that they already do. How likely is it that any politician who votes for this will get elected again?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...that's what politicians say nowadays " We know what to do it's just that we do not know how to be re-elected again". But they will be because there is no alternative.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 03:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check this out:

http://english.capital.gr/News.asp?id=1320183

Eurozone heads left no alternative to George Papandreou but to resign and ensure a government which would implement the EU Summit resolutions.

The so-called "Frankfurt war council" (including Merkel, Sarkozy, Trichet, Draghi, Barroso, Van Rompuy, Juncket), which criticized George Papandreou at a meeting in Cannes, credits the reliability of Papademos and former Greek PM Kostas Simitis, according to Brussels sources.

However, the head of Greek government should have the full backing of government and opposition, they note.

I'm laughing at this.

I sometimes read capital.gr and it never seems to go out of its way to frame the news. This shows something about the state of politics in Greece.

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:24:08 AM EST
Greek crisis: Referendum cancelled as national unity talks continue | Business | guardian.co.uk

3.24pm: Peace may be breaking out in Greece. Greek TV is now reporting that Papandreou has praised his rival Antonis Samaras for changing his political tune and deciding to support the rescue package crafted by the EU and IMF to stave off Greece's economic collapse.

The Greek leader is being cited as telling cabinet ministers that Samaras' new stance is a "huge success." Papandreou reportedly said that:

A logical order has been reached. I am very happy and praise Mr Samaras for his change of mind.

A historic moment has been reached where political parties can understand each other, can reach consensus.

followed by :

Greek crisis: Referendum cancelled as national unity talks continue | Business | guardian.co.uk

3.30pm: Another indication that the Greece political landscape is being reshaped:

Giorgos Karatzerferis who heads the populist far-right LOAS party has just said: "very shortly we will have a government of national unity."

Gulp.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:44:16 AM EST
The Greek people are going to be very angry...

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I commend him for bringing things to a head.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the merit of achieving a national unity government that will implement austerity and loss of sovereignty and potentially stay in place for 2 more years on the back of the Parliament elected in 2009?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It clarifies things for citizens. I know 85% were against him, but this has cleaned up the discourse quite a bit. The eurozone exit can-of-worms is now on the table. Discourse opens up. For too long, Greeks have been cowed in their discussions.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, I am grading papers this morning and have the academic discussion taking place on the eurozone down at U. Texas (hosted by Prof. Galbraith) on RealPlayer. Varoufakis is talking at around 1 pm.

It is old ground, but also a lot of new stuff, and highly entertaining. Lots of jokes. Everyone hopes that Polish leadership will insert itself and help Europe.

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:53:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The pessimist in me says that they won't care.

I don't mean the current part of the population that is already protesting, those will be angry.

I say all the others (the majority?).

by cagatacos on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Optics are important.

The new PM will be a ECB/IMF cadre.

This will not be lost on the people.

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Jean Quatremer's twitter:

quatremer : Ceux qui s'imaginent que Papandréou a proposé un référendum pour la beauté de la démocratie se plantent lourdement.

Il s'agissait d'une manoeuvre politicienne pour assurer sa survie, mais aussi renégocier l'aide aux banques grecques.

Attendons de voir les détails de l'aide aux banques grecques pour voir ce qu'il a vraiment obtenu. Les surprises sont peut-être là.


Those who imagine that Paparendou proposed a referendum for the beauty of democracy are badly mistaken.

Sure, it was a political manoeuvre to ensure his survival, but also to renegotiate aid to Greek banks.

Let's wait and see the details of aid to Greek banks to see what he has really obtained. The surprises are perhaps there.




It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 01:40:18 PM EST
Jean Quatremer (quatremer) sur Twitter
Papandréou, lors du diner mercredi, a notamment justifié son référendum par le risque d'un coup d'Etat. Pas moins...

Papandréou, at dinner Wednesday night, justified his referendum, among other reasons, by the risk of a coup d'Etat. No less...

Apparently this twitter message is creating quite a stir in Greece.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 07:12:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If true it is further evidence he is making it up as he goes. To declare a referendum and then withdraw it seems more likely to provoke than prevent a coup.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 12:40:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is turning into a charade: The PM speaking to his parliamentary group claimed that this was a trick to coerce the conservatives into agreeing with the "rescue package" and a successful one at that. The finance minister was proud with the amount of loans his government has secured (no, really). Early this morning they were discussing about a commonly agreed caretaker government with the conservatives of limited scope and duration. Under this plan the conservatives agreed to support the rescue passage. Now Papandreou is changing tune: he is very unclear about the duration of this caretaking government and seems like he would like to remain in charge.

At least two MPs stood up and told him he was out of touch with the social reality and that he shamed Greece last night in Cannes. It seems exceedingly unlikely that his government will survive the confidence vote. He can only resign, vote with the conservatives the rescue package (a black box as far as Greece is concerned, no one knows the terms) and proceed to an election early in December. He will lose in an unprecedented manner. The people in the streets (and it seems that right now a majority of the adult population has participated in one form of protest or another) are frothing. My only issue is that he has made Samaras, the bozo running the conservative party seem like an experienced elder statesman in comparison.

Papandreou ran on the Luxemburgian slogan "Socialism or barbarism" these past elections. He has affirmed his promise. It's just that people didn't understand which leg of the dilemma he was offering.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 01:41:47 PM EST
Well, it seems now that Samaras has made an ass out of himself too, by announcing to the world how crassly political his party has been. Also took issue with what's been said about him outside Greece.

At this point, the optimal course would b for the people of Greece to push to dissolve PASOK and ND in total. Bring the two parties to the ground.

by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 03:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point, the optimal course would b for the people of Greece to push to dissolve PASOK and ND in total. Bring the two parties to the ground.  

How? If they are able to do it maybe world can learn how to do it everywhere else,  where we have similar situation of no option...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 09:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd have to first have a crisis of the sort they do now, with the current leader washing his hands of the mess he created, while so-called non-partisans moved in because of the odious thought of ceding to the opposition. From there, it's an ipso facto decision. Dissolve the parties and try something new.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All that is required is a clean, credible option that has sufficient support that it is impossible to deny it a position on the ballot. But that is far from a trivial requirement.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously...:(

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 03:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zero Hedge's tweet provided the ideal commentary on Papandreou's speech

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 08:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can conditions announced after agreement is coerced from a government be binding on that government?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 11:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece's truth or dare  George Gillson  Athens News

Hopes of dozens of MPs in both parties that Greece's precarious position would open the way for a national salvation government quickly degenerated in a classic political blame game and a bid for partisan advantage.

Papandreou grasped the opposition leader's offer to vote for the bailout deal but gave no indication that he has any intention to step down to open the way for a unity government. Instead, he invited ND to come and co-negotiate the programme in a supporting role. Papandreou essentially called on ND to join a coalition government on his terms, as if the simmering revolt in his own party had never occurred and as if mounting intra-party calls for his resignation did not exist.

"We won't reject or accept a priori other conditions. We need to have a substantial discussion with ND to see how we will go forward," he said.

It quickly became clear that Papandreou had back-pedalled from his political commitment at a cabinet meeting immediately before to move quickly towards formation of a unity government. Papandreou's stance heightened the outrage of many MPs who angrily took the floor to blast the premier and ask that he step down. Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou rose out of order to complain vociferously that the premier reneged on his commitment to form a government of national responsibility.




As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 07:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PAOK Salonika fans took their new political awakening and their banners to Ireland as they met the Shamrock Rovers tonight...

Maybe this sort of thing will catch on in Ireland? Anti-IMF contagion?

These sort of kids, I note, have zero understanding of political games. They'll be out on the streets soon enough under one government or the other...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:22:07 PM EST
From the Paralogics Department:

"Greece's economy has to shrink" - Interview with government adviser Clemens Fuest - Süddeutsche Zeitung

Fuest: A referendum and gov. of national unity would have the advantage of securing the support by the people - though that has the risk of the people rejecting austerity. The gov. has to be able to explain to the population that there is no alternative to tightened savings.
Evidently, things in Greek can't go on as they have in the past. But this whole notion reminds me of Mahler's second symphony: "Sterben werd ich um zu leben." - Die shall I in order to live..
by epochepoque on Fri Nov 4th, 2011 at 09:18:36 AM EST
Commentators and analysts keep repeating here on TV that Greece IS GOING to default and pretty soon and leave EU. So all of this is just a "road show" or simply entertainment for masses. Then they say will others (Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain) do the same. It is inevitable they say here. So EU is going to shrink. Full stop. They do not have any doubts about this.
All the others in the world will feel the pain.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 at 12:28:48 AM EST
Papandreou's proposal for a referendum was a high-risk move that -almost- worked. His main objective was to blackmail the opposition and solidify his position: "if you don't give me the necessary political support for the rescue package means that you reject it. If you reject it, let the Greek people decide what they really want with a direct vote".

The conservatives panicked and declared that they support the rescue package. Even the parliamentary parties of the left did not want to go to a referendum and were bubbling about the need for elections.

What Papandreou didn't take into account was the vicious reaction of the press. The Greek elites were really frightened by the possibility of a NO vote. Papandreou thought that he would prevail in a referendum, but the elites saw that a NO vote was probable in these political conditions and orchestrated an attack on Papandreou, even from within his party.

And although everyone thought he was finished, he gained the confidence of the parliament, he is still the prime-minister of Greece, with a general promise to try to find allies for a national unity government.

Finally, his move had another objective result. It canceled, not for long I hope, the massive mobilization of the Greek people and made us again spectators of the political process in front of our TVs.

by baoutsi on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 at 09:37:35 AM EST
Finally, his move had another objective result. It canceled, not for long I hope, the massive mobilization of the Greek people and made us again spectators of the political process in front of our TVs.

Well, wait a few days. Days, not weeks. The whole thing was a farce exactly because the Greek elites think that there is a window for yet another media terror blitzkrieg to pacify the natives. The natives however cannot be pacified any more with smoke and mirrors. Deprivation is not manageable through the usual PR postures.

Papandreou never intended to go to a referendum. He couldn't go to a referendum, without the process of going to a referendum subverting the actual content of the referendum. Hours after the first opinion polls would show that the YES/NO vote is tight (never mind if the NO were overwhelmingly in front as I suppose it would be), bank-runs would occur across the Eurozone, Spain and Belgium would find it impossible to roll over their debt, and France would be at the tipping point, making the rescue package on which the electorate would supposedly vote null and void.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 at 10:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing that might pacify the average Greek is the mainshow about to begin in Italy.

If Greece is a sideshow, then you might as well take a seat for the next few weeks.

by Upstate NY on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 at 10:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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