ORIGINAL POST: Why did Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announce plans to hold a referendum on austerity, rather than just go along with the bailout/reforms that have already been agreed to?
The buzz from Greece, according to one European trader we spoke with, is that it’s an ego thing. Papandreou was publicly jeered on Friday, and that may have set him off: In other words, the referendum call is basically a way to say to the Greek people: Fine, you don’t like the way things are going, take responsibility for staying in or leaving the euro into your own hands.
Regardless,s it’s suddenly hard to see a positive ending here.
Think about it, if you think Greece could vote down the package, and leave the euro in the next few months, why not get all your money out now?
UPDATE: This is interesting. Friday was Oxi Day in Greece (as noted by Paul Mason), which is described by Wikipedia like this:
Ohi Day (also spelled Ochi Day, Greek: Επέτειος του «’Οχι» Epeteios tou “‘Ohi”, Anniversary of the “No”) is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on October 28 each year, to commemorate Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas‘ (in power from August 4, 1936, until January 29, 1941) rejection of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.
This day was filled with unrest in Greece this year, and it’s not hard to imagine the population seeing parallels between what happened then, and the foreign-imposed austerity.