No snap election for Greece – that was the message from Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou after he put a positive slant on his Socialist Party’s showing in local elections.
The prime minister had threatened to dissolve parliament if the first round of the regional poll failed to give him a mandate to pursue his austerity package.
Prime Minister George Papandreou said:
“ The Greek people brought us to power a year ago for this change to happen, and today they confirmed again that they want this change and are asking for it to happen. As of tomorrow, we continue with our work.”
Official estimates give the Socialists seven out of 13 regions.
Some 40 per cent of voters abstained and about 10 per cent of those who did vote spoiled their paper.
Opposition leader Antonis Samaras said: “Those who voted, the majority of them condemned the policies of Mr. Papandreou. And those that stayed away rejected his election blackmail.”
Observers say the threat of a general election will calm investors who had been worried about political instability in the country.
Greece has embarked upon deep spending cuts as stipulated by a multi-million-euro EU/IMF bailout.