Confusion in PASOK about confidence vote

Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yiannis Magriotis expects PASOK MPs to support Prime Minister George Papandreou in tonight?s confidence vote but seemed to back away from the idea that this would trigger talks with the opposition to form an interim government.

?I think that tonight, all the PASOK deputies will do their duty and afterwards we will go to elections,? he said. ?Our only interest is to save the country.?

However, Magriotis appeared to suggest that PASOK might stay in power to negotiate Greece?s next loan deal with the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund before calling elections.

?For the new loan agreement to be completed, it needs a roadmap and tough negotiations,? he said. ?If we go to elections the next day, the country will collapse. We can?t just shut everything down and go on vacation. There has to be a government.?

Prime Minister George Papandreou sent mixed messages in Parliament on Thursday, initially making vague references to working with New Democracy and then being more specific about the formation of an interim administration and accepting that he would step down if required.

?After his speech in Parliament last night, I think that there is an atmosphere in the parliamentary group that would support him so that it can lead to immediate developments to bring about consensus,? PASOK MP Giorgos Dolios told Skai TV.