NEWS

PM calls meeting of all party leaders

Prime Minister George Papandreou has invited the leaders of all the parliamentary opposition parties to hold talks on Friday in a meeting that will be chaired by President Karolos Papoulias.

Although the agenda for the meeting is not yet known, it is likely to focus on Greece?s debt problems and the options open to the government over the next few weeks.

Greece has been under pressure over the last couple of weeks to achieve political consensus over the austerity measures and structural reforms that need to be adopted in the coming months.

Papandreou failed in an attempt to find common ground with the opposition leaders earlier this week.

Antonis Samaras of New Democracy, Giorgos Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Alexis Tsipras of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) refused to give their across-the-board consent for further tax hikes and the start of a privatization program. Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga refused to attend the meeting.

It is not clear if all the leaders will be at tomorrow?s talks. SYRIZA has asked for more details about the agenda, while KKE has not commented.

It has been reported that Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou and possibly Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas will attend Friday?s meeting.

These types of meetings, between all the party leaders and chaired by the president, are relatively rare although Papandreou did hold one at the beginning of his premiership which was aimed at achieving common position on fighting corruption.