On Friday night, Papandreou won a confidence vote in Parliament on the condition that he step down and establish a new unity government.
On Sunday night, it was announced that some kind of power-sharing “deal” had been established.
On Monday we expected to know the name of the new PM.
Then that was pushed to Tuesday.
Then that was pushed until today.
Then today it seemed for sure as though the next PM was going to be announced. Papandreou came on TV to resign today, but didn’t name anyone. Everyone was shocked, but then figured that the name would be announced an hour later.
Then Papandreou and arch-rival Samaras went into a meeting, and nothing emerged.
So the new PM will be announced… tomorrow. Supposedly.
What the heck is going on?
Photo: AP/Bernd Kammerer
Well to start, it’s the job that nobody wants. The name that keeps coming up is Lukas Papademos. His name has come up from the beginning, and as an internationalist, ex-ECB, ex-Boston Fed guy, he seems like a pretty obvious candidate to manage Greece and manage the international community at one time.There’s only one problem, which is that he doesn’t want to be just the guy who takes orders from everyone. Supposedly the deal is he’ll take the job, but ONLY if everyone in the various parties (including the conservative Samaras) swears that they’re fully on board with the October 26 bailout plan. That way he won’t be refighting old battles. Samaras basically says he supports the bailout plan, but he hasn’t signed on the dotted line.
So Papademos is strong willed and demands some political capital, at a time when nobody has any capital to spare.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The alternative to this kind of PM is an order-taker: Someone who will just do totally as they’re told, which means take a lot of abuse. It looked like that person was found today: Philippos Petsalnikos, who is the speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, and supposedly a Papandreou Clone. “Alter ego” is the term that described him in a conversation we had with a Greek parliament source.The only problem with Petsalnikos: Nobody likes him. He’s kind of seen as a joke, and a time of crisis, PASOK does not want to be ruled by someone this, evidently, underwhelming. Also: He supported Papandreou’s referendum plan, which didn’t go over well.
When Papandreou proposed him, everyone in PASOK went ballistic.
So there you have it: People with some standing don’t want the job, since they know it will be miserable. People who don’t seem to care about that part aren’t wanted by anyone in power.
The latest word from Athens is that Papademos is likely it, but then… we’ve heard this a bunch before.
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