Ex-PM rues not holding bailout referendum
Former premier George Papandreou said yesterday he regretted not insisting on a referendum over the Greek bailout before he left office in 2011. Papandreou was prime minister from 2009 to 2011, when he resigned to make way for a national unity government during the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis. With the onslaught of the crisis, Papandreou called for a referendum without consulting the country’s partners. He was forced to scrap the plan after being chastised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “I should have insisted on the referendum in 2011. We would definitely have won. I should have insisted,” he told Parapolitika radio station. Last week, Papandreou and Fofi Gennimata, the leader of Democratic Alignment (the new name for PASOK), announced that they were joining forces. The Movement of Democratic Socialists (KIDISO), launched by Papandreou two years ago, will essentially merge with PASOK, according to the announcement, which noted that the only way for Greece to emerge from a continuing crisis is for all the forces of “democratic socialism” to work together. Previous overtures by Papandreou to PASOK, the party founded by his father, had been unsuccessful.