G. Papandreou got his cabinet behind him late last night. His recent announcement of him going to a referendum cost him a defection (his majority is now 152 out of 300 seats) and an emergency hospital visit by his deputy and Finance minister. Now he is actually for the first time on the drivers seat of a three way game of chicken, country and eurozone on the passenger’s seat. If you are a gamer you’ve got to give him credit for that. If you are a common Joe you’ve got to be shaking your head.
Papandreou says he wants a referendum on the new loan and the new austerity it brings with it. Everybody knows though that this will be a referendum where the Greek people will have to decide on whether to stay in the eurozone and continue paying a high price for it or leave the eurozone and pay the highest price all at once. As the troika is intensifying the austerity measures on Greece and the high price the Greeks are paying feels more and more like the highest price they would have to pay if Greece left the Euro and defaulted, it is clear that Papandreou is smiling madly with a shine in his eye in this game of chicken.
If his troikan partners don’t ease up on their own mad austerity plans the chances increase that the Greek people will send troika and with it the entire eurozone to the same hell which troika prepared for them. If the troika eases up Papandreou will pass the referendum and Greece and quite likely Europe will make a hero out of him. Papandreou’s risk of the Franco-German axis and the troika being as hawkish as he is in this game of chicken is hedged by the Greek opposition party having committed to prevent a referendum as Greek constitution says that if 60 opposition parliamentary members quit their seats and their replacements refuse to take over then elections are required. Papandreou will then be out of an impossible position he found himself in, pinched between “partners” who act as a pack of wolves and a folk which has no more fat to burn:
If he gets the troika to blink nobody will want to prevent a referendum he is likely to win if the troika does not blink then the greek opposition will prevent the referendum. Papandreou will never make it to a referendum he is likely to lose!
The reader who does not see how madly brilliant this move of Papandreou is should take up stamp collection instead. We are in for a ride. Papandreou is on the driver’s seat going from dove to hawk and we are all passengers. Who will blink first? Place your bets! One last thing to keep in mind before betting: troika’s alternative to Papandreou is Samaras who stubbornly declined to play along for months…
PS: Is Papandreou about to win his Golden Palm tonight?