Papandreou waits for power sharing meeting

Associated Press
Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou pauses during a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, at the presidential house in Athens on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. Embattled Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou launched efforts to form a four-month coalition government, arguing the move is vital to demonstrating Greece's commitment to remaining in the eurozone.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

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Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou pauses during a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, …

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's embattled prime minister asked the country's president on Sunday to host a meeting between him and the head of the opposition in an attempt to find a way out of a political crisis, as pressure mounts to ensure Greece avoids bankruptcy and remains in the eurozone.

Prime Minister George Papandreou told ministers in an emergency Cabinet meeting that he asked President Karolos Papoulias to convene the meeting Sunday night, his ministers said.

Political leaders are struggling to agree on creating an interim government. Papandreou has said he will resign once power-sharing talks conclude on a replacement.

Conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras has insisted the resignation come first.

Samaras' party spokesman, Yiannis Michelakis, said that while they were aware of Papandreou's comments, there had been no invitation from the president for talks. If such an invitation were extended to Samaras, he would attend, Michelakis said in a statement.

Papandreou narrowly survived a confidence vote in his government Saturday night, mid-way through his four-year term, amid increasing calls from both the opposition and many of his own lawmakers that he resign.

The crisis was sparked after Papandreou's shock announcement Monday night that he wanted to put a new European debt deal aimed at rescuing his country's economy to a referendum. The plan for such a vote caused an uproar in Europe, roiled international markets and led to calls in Greece for Papandreou's resignation, with lawmakers saying he had endangered Greece's bailout.

The prime minister withdrew the plan on Thursday, after Samaras indicated his party would back the new debt deal, agreed on after marathon negotiations in Europe on Oct. 27.

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