Government floats idea of referendum on reforms

Prime Minister George Papandreou met with President Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday to brief him on the outcome of his talks with opposition party leaders as the premier?s aides floated the idea of holding a referendum on the reforms the government is under pressure to carry out.

In his meeting with Papoulias, Papandreou indicated that despite not finding any common ground with the other leaders on what policies the government should follow, there was at least agreement on what the aims of its policies should be.

?During my meetings, I established that there is a common target, which is to reduce the debt and deficit,? said Papandreou.

Papoulias stressed the need to protect the unemployed and people on low pensions in whatever measures the government adopted.

However, on Tuesday evening, officials close to Papandreou had suggested that the government might opt to hold a referendum in a bid to gain a mandate to proceed with further austerity measures, spending cuts and privatizations.

The idea was raised at a Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) conference on Tuesday by the group?s chairman, Dimitris Daskalopoulos.

Papandreou?s aides said that the prime minister was not averse to the idea and had actually discussed it with ministers at Monday?s Cabinet meeting.

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