Debate over length of premier?s term

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is due to meet with PASOK leader George Papandreou, New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras and President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday to brief them about the outcome of last week?s European Union leaders? summit.

Papademos will do so amid a political debate about whether the prime minister?s interim government should remain in power for longer than previously planned.

When Papademos took over, it was proposed that his administration would make way for general elections by February 19, provided that the premier was able to wrap up negotiations with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, as well as banks holding Greek bonds.

However, an article by former President Costis Stephanopoulos in Sunday?s Kathimerini, in which he suggested that the parties should stop pressing for early elections, has prompted a debate about whether Papademos should be allowed to remain in his role for longer.

Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou published an article on her personal website suggesting that Papademos should be allowed to carry on with his task without interference from parties demanding snap polls. Sources said that her PASOK party had not been notified about her intention to publicly support an extension to Papademos?s time in office. However, the idea received support from PASOK deputy Petros Efthymiou.

New Democracy, however, appeared less reluctant to countenance the idea of elections being put off. Conservative deputy Costas Tzavaras said that he was ?astounded? by Stephanopoulos?s proposal.

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