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Greek Referendum On Eurozone Up In The Air

CANNES, France, Nov. 3 (UPI) — A spokesman for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Thursday his proposed referendum accepting a $178 billion EU bailout may not be held after all.

Papandreou’s proposal Monday to let the people decide whether to accept Europe’s latest rescue plan or leave the eurozone stunned members of his Parliament, who would have to approve the referendum to let it go forward.

But Papandreou spokesman Elias Mosialos Thursday hinted the referendum may not be held after all, as the major opposition in Parliament has accepted the latest loan agreement, reported. Mosialos also said Papandreou is not willing to resign, contradicting earlier reports.

Kathimerini reported Thursday officials from the New Democracy Party were expected to meet with government officials to discuss the formation of a transitional government after the ruling party came out against Papandreou’s proposed referendum.

“The new government that will emerge from this election will unite the people … so that the country can come out of the crisis,” New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said.

European leaders Thursday withheld an overdue $11 billion loan payment to Athens, demanding Greece first make clear its eurozone intentions.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said around midnight Wednesday they would deny Greece the money, which it needs by mid-December, unless the referendum — now in doubt — resulted in a swift yes.

“Does Greece want to remain part of the eurozone or not — that is the question the Greek people must now answer,” Merkel said in Cannes, France, hours before the start of the annual Group of 20 summit of large developing and industrialized nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama was to arrive at 9:30 a.m. local time Thursday and be greeted by Sarkozy.

Sarkozy and Merkel also told Papandreou the $178 billion rescue plan, 50-percent write-off debt restructuring plan and painfully deep austerity measures eurozone leaders agreed to last week after painstaking negotiations were not negotiable, the leaders said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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