While George Papandreou’s gamble to hold a referendum on the country’s EU bailout deal seems to have spectacularly backfired, the final outcome is far from certain.
Several scenarios could still happen, but some experts in Brussels think Papandreou’s decision was inevitable given the domestic discontent in Greece.
“What Greece is looking for at the moment is a political majority to decide clearly with citizens’ support on a strategy for the future of the country. I think that the prevailing feeling is that it just can’t go on as at it has been going on in the country in the past few weeks and months,” said Amandine Crespy a political science lecturer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Whatever the composition of Greece’s next government, the anger shown on the streets towards the country’s political class appears increasingly hostile. Zsolt Darvas from the Brussels based Bruegel think tank believes the best solution would be a national government led by a technocrat.
“If there’s a technocratic government then the Greek people may feel that, indeed now we are not in the hands of politicians but technocrats and Greeks may see this as the best way. So maybe the public’s acceptance of the austerity measures and necessary structural reforms could increase.”
Whether or not Papandreou’s referendum plan is ditched or not, other experts reckon moves are already afoot inside Greece to remove the prime minister to make sure the EU rescue deal agreed in Brussels goes through the Greek parliament.
‘‘The most likely scenario is to try to safeguard the deal agreed at the last EU summit and to keep things going until the political conditions in Greece are more unified. I think there will have to be some good will in the case of a change of government to allow it to take over where Mr Papandreou left off. What is likely is that any replacement will come from the same political wing,’‘ said Pierre Defraigne, the head of the Madariaga College of Europe Foundation.