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Papandreou could drop Greek bailout referendum

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Papandreou could drop Greek bailout referendum

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George Papandreou says he will scrap a referendum on Greece’s latest bailout deal, if the conservative opposition agrees to back the plan in parliament.

Addressing fellow socialists, the embattled premier insisted the question of Greece’s euro zone membership would not be asked in any public vote.

Papandreou, who is facing calls to quit and a hugely risky parliamentary confidence vote on Friday, rejected early elections as “catastrophic.” But opposition leader Antonis Samaras responded by demanding snap polls in six weeks and Papandreou’s resignation.

The prime minister is also facing divisions within his government and ruling PASOK party. His finance minister says a referendum must be categorically ruled out. Evangelos Venizelos said Greece must reassure its international partners that it will act immediately to put the rescue plan into action.

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