Greek Anarkik Konfusion Theatre Group’s production of ‘Krisis’ not a huge hit, baffles audience

George Papandreou will not be resigning as Prime Minister until such time as a new ‘interim’ Government has been sworn in. He has been asked by both senior PASOK MPs and the Conservative Opposition New Democracy to continue as a ‘caretaker’ PM until the ‘interim’ chaps are chosen.

The idea, it seems, is to choose  the interim folks (not elect, at this stage) because an election would be far too slow and disruptive. President Karolos Papoulias, poor sad fellow, will be doing the choosing. I understand that  New Democracy will only support the Chosen Interims if they are, and I quote, “a Government of technocrat experts whose narrow remit will be to ratify the Brussels agreement, and ensure the payment of the 8bn euro bailout tranche”.

There will then be new elections before Christmas, and the lucky winners of that bunfight will take over in the New Year. This is the final, last version of what’s going to happen. Until the next twist in the plot, when it won’t be. I am getting too old for this nonsense.

The unprecedented brutal humiliation of Greece by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, following Papandreou’s ill-fated referendum idea, meant his fall from the premiership was a dead cert, according to Athens newspapers this morning. Then, in the 30 minutes after ‘news’ of Papaendreou’s ‘imminent resignation’ broke just after midday, German stock markets rose dramatically.
The Prime Minister’s referendum proposal had been described by some journalists as ‘dead on arrival’ when Papandreou returned from his talks in Cannes. They asserted that Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had decided to shaft the Prime Minister before he (Venizelos) landed in Athens from Cannes. This Angelo did by immediately opposing the referendum put forward by his boss.
That move was viewed by the Greek media as a leadership bid by Papandreou’s arch-rival Venizelos. Significantly I think, from late morning onwards the Venizelos camp began putting out releases saying a large majority of Pasok MPs opposed the referendum, that this made it certain that the referendum could not attract the parliamentary majority required, and that Evangelo Venizelos’s opposition to the referendum had been decisive.
“The two men are enemies politically, and the simmering resentment has never been entirely absent,” said one source close to the finance minister. There was even specific talk of Papandreou having phone the Greek President to warn him of his impending resignation.
But then, around 1.30 pm, came the fightback from Papandreou. He is obviously going to have to go, but the Venizelos wishful thinking appears to have been stamped upon. The full text of Papa’s version has just been uploaded to his official website. So if you can read Greek, have a look.

And also breaking: Mario Draghi of the ECB moved quickly to cut eurozone interest rates this afternoon. Downgrading the outlook for european growth, the EU’s central banker signalled clearly to the markets that he will make the encouragement of economic growth in the EU his main focus. But he did not specifically mention any QE/liquidity moves at this stage.

The Slog is now going for a lie-down.