NEWS

Samaras urges PM to resign, calls for transition gov’t

Greece?s opposition leader on Thursday called on embattled Prime Minister George Papandreou to resign and led his party in a dramatic walkout during a parliamentary debate ahead of Friday’s vote of confidence.

?I told Papandreou to resign and head towards the formation of a transition government… to push towards early elections,? Antonis Samaras said amid rowdy scenes ahead of a crunch confidence vote in parliament expected on Friday.

Samaras did not specify whether his party would vote in favor of the Brussels deal when it comes before Parliament. But he stressed that he had said from the start that the latest agreement was ?unavoidable.?

The New Democracy leader accused Papandreou of being a «liar» and of only being interested in holding on to power.

Papandreou shocked the country and European leaders earlier this week by saying he wanted to put a hard-fought new European debt deal to a popular vote.

Speaking to ruling PASOK?s parliamentary group earlier Thursday, Papandreou said his bid to hold a referendum on Greece?s latest eurozone bailout had generated a ?creative shock? that could lead to a coalition deal with New Democracy. He said that talks were under way with the conservative opposition party.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who Thursday appeared to be breaking ranks with Papandreou over the referendum issue, warned against holding early elections saying it would put Greece?s bailout deal in jeopardy.

[Combined reports]