Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is struggling to hold onto power after balking at implementing a European bailout deal intended to save debt-plagued Greece — and throwing world markets into turmoil. Papandreou sparked panic by proposing a referendum on the agreement, which includes $180 billion in rescue loans that are essential to saving Greece from default and preventing its troubles from spreading across Europe. In a humiliating retreat, Papandreou quickly scrapped the referendum. But now he's facing a confidence vote on Friday as rivals call for his resignation. Would Greece, and the world, be better off with a new government in Athens?
Yes. Papandreou is making the crisis worse: "If George Papandreou wanted to impress his creditors with fiscal and political stability in Greece," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, "he could hardly have done worse." His referendum would have failed, killing the bailout Greece needs to avoid defaulting on its debts, and "leaving the euro ready for a total collapse." No wonder people want to "scrap" not just the referendum, but his government.
"Greece may cancel referendum, government teeters"
And replacing him will ensure the deal goes through: Papandreou can try to cling to power, but his days are clearly numbered, says Vassilis Monastiriotis at Britain's Guardian. That's "a positive development," as it means Greece will get its bailout and remain in the Eurozone, for now. But the next government is unlikely to "calm either the economic or the political turmoil," so Greece's troubles are far from over.
"No Greek referendum, but no stability either"
Ditching Papandreou solves nothing: Either Papandreou will leave or his party will be voted out in the next election, says Douglas A. McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. But nothing he could have done would have reversed "the Greek economic slide and the country’s eventual inability" to pay its debts. Greece needs to embrace the austerity measures, which means spending less and taxing more. But what many Greeks are demanding is "a government that will repudiate the terms of the nation's bailout." Obviously, the system in Greece is "broken," regardless of who's in charge.
"Without Papandreou, Greece's problems will continue"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- 10 things you need to know today: July 24, 2014
- A scientific fact-check of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Subscribe to the Week