Parliament to debate confidence vote

Greece’s Parliament is due on Wednesday to begin three-day deliberations over a confidence vote announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday night, bringing all other parliamentary activities to a halt.

The confidence vote is expected to be held late on Friday night, meaning that Papandreou’s scheduled briefing of MPs regarding decisions made at a European summit last week for a 50 percent writedown on Greece’s debt will be postponed until after the vote. The prime minister also said that the government will be holding a referendum over the deal within the next few weeks, a move that has intensified uncertainty over whether the Socialist government will be able to push through the reforms agreed with its creditors and put Greece back on an even keel.

«Papandreou’s initiative for a referendum is meant for the Greek people to be able to express their position over the debt deal,» Defense Minister Panos Beglitis told Skai TV on Tuesday.

«The referendum does not divide the Greek people,» Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos told a tourism conference on Tuesday, adding «what divides the Greek people is petty politics.»

Geroulanos was responding to criticism from the head of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises(SETE), Andreas Andreadis, who said that a referendum would «divide the people and increase the probability of a disorderly default.»

Andreadis also said that the «effort for Greece’s transformation into a European country cannot be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.»