ATHENS, Greece — Greece's embattled Prime Minister George Papandreou's government survived a confidence vote 153-144 early Saturday, avoiding snap elections which would have torpedoed Greece's bailout deal and inflamed the euro zone's economic crisis.
Papandreou's government came under threat this week, following his disastrous bid to hold a referendum on the new European debt agreement. The idea was swiftly scrapped Thursday after an angry response from markets and European leaders.
Late Friday, Papandreau said a new European debt deal for his country agreed on last month is an opportunity that must not go to waste.
Alexandros Vlachos / EPA
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (R) and ministers react after the announcement of the voting process during the third day of the confidence vote debate in Athens, Greece, on Nov. 4. Ruling PASOK's Parliamentary spokesman announced in statements on Friday that the process of forming a cooperation government with main opposition New Democracy and other parties will begin on Saturday, immediately after the vote of confidence in the government at midnight. He noted, however, that if the government failed to secure a vote of confidence and an interim government was formed, there might be problems in the payment of wages and pensions.
Vladimir Rys / Getty Images
Opposition leader Antonis Samaras lokos on during the confidence vote for the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou in the Greek parliament on November 04 in Athens, Greece. Papandreou won the parliamentary confidence vote, which is key to Greece receiving a financial aid package worth 130 billion Euros from the E.U.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
Conservative parliament members of New Democracy, left seats, return after a confidence vote speech by Greek Prime minister George Papandreou in Athens, on Friday, Nov. 4. Greece's embattled Socialist prime minister promised to start immediate power sharing talks to form a caretaker government, declaring his willingness to step aside if needed, but ruled out snap elections that he said would scuttle a major new European debt deal.