Papandreou Wins Confidence Vote But Looks Set to Step DownCNN adds some more "clarity" to the ruling politicians' ambitious political plans for Greece (but against the people of Greece), and the ongoing negotiations with New Democracy opposition leader Samaras, who has so far refused to play his part in this Greek tragicomedy by demanding both Papandreou's resignation and snap elections for a new government within six weeks. Now it seems Papandreou has agreed to resign if a coalition government is formed, but Samaras refuses to be a part of any coalition until the resignation is put in writing, notarized and delivered to his doorstep, and only then will he be willing to discuss additional terms (i.e. when to hold elections). ." It is a first in the constitutional history of Greece; parliament expressing its confidence in the prime minister so that he can soon resign. … If the conservatives continue with their refusal to take part in any government of national unity, it would leave the Socialists with no choice but to form a shrunken coalition with the populist right and the economically liberal "Democratic Alliance" of former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis – seen as a rather pointless exercise. The leftist opposition signaled that it was particularly upset about the vote. "They want us to express our support for a government that is not even there anymore," said leader of the moderate Left Alliance Alexis Tsipras – with many commentators agreeing that there's an element of truth in Tsipras' assessment of the situation. "
Greeks head for the exits
SUBHEAD: Democracy is not dead in Greece, but as they near default it's been put on a ventilator. By Ashvin Pandurangi on 6 November 2011 for The Automatic Earth - (http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/11/november-6-2011-democracy-isnt-dead-yet.html) Image above: Mashup of George Papandreou on a life support ventilator by Juan Wilson. "Canned laughter" is frequently used on TV shows to create the illusion of soothing, comedic value in the minds of the show’s viewers. Anyone who has watched a show with "canned laughter" is familiar with the logic. One of the characters says something or another that isn’t very interesting or funny, the laugh-track comes on and then we find ourselves forcing a smile or snicker as an almost "unconscious" reaction. Almost, but not quite, because many times we are still forced to face our participation in this contrived reality after the fact. The ongoing shows in the realm of the political economy are no different. They use their own versions of "canned laughter" to legitimatize a situation which is otherwise plainly illegitimate to those of us strapped into our seats, forced to watch along in agony. A great example of these political laugh-tracks is the "vote of no confidence" that is held in Parliamentary countries, where the appointed governments almost always survive in one piece by maintaining "party discipline" or slightly modifying policies to corral dissenters in. However, attempts to impose an artificial feeling of political satisfaction for the people and political legitimacy for the government cannot and will not be successful forever, under any and all circumstances, and that fact couldn't be any truer than it is now. It is evident from the "no confidence vote" that has just occurred in Greece, where Prime Minister George Papandreou was truly on the chopping block this time, and the one that will soon occur in Italy, where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be as well. With regards to the former, Papandreou managed to survive with a slight majority of 153 votes (2 votes more than necessary), and is now claiming to be in talks with other parties about forming a "national unity government", which he almost assuredly will not be the leader of. At first blush, one could be forgiven for seeing the developments of last week in Greece, culminating in this vote of confidence for a future government coalition, as marking an unmistakable death blow to "democracy" in the developed world. Papandreou dangled the prospect of a truly democratic process in front of the Greek people as a ploy, to scare the opposition parties into throwing their support behind the oppressive EU deal of October 26 and joining a coalition government, after which both the referendum and the protection offered by "opposition" parties would be callously stripped away from the people. Indeed, a better example of blatantly anti-democratic tactics within a democracy cannot be found short of fiscal "supercommittees" and military coups. Papandreou’s government has now managed to stay in power (albeit in a different form), gain stronger commitments from opposition parties to the EU bailout/austerity deal and postpone new elections until after the deal passes and €8 billion from the IMF is disbursed to avoid "default". Merkel and Sarkozy will now sleep better knowing that the Greek people will be forced to play their part as victims in an epic criminal extortion scheme, without any inconvenient democratic processes, such as a referendum, interfering along the way. Or will they? Sometimes, when we get bogged down in the superficial details, we miss the bigger perspective that is evolving. Papandreou did win his confidence motion, but only by a slight majority of two votes, and it cost him his job. More importantly, it is not clear what kind of credible "coalition" government can be formed or whether it can really quell political dissent against the austerity deal. Now comes the part where ruling politicians must actually convince the various political factions that Papandreou's words to them in Parliament about "national unity" and "personal sacrifice" are more than just words. Deutsche Welle Reports: