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Voting: The New Reckless

Posted by: Mark Gimein on November 2, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Over at our Euro Crisis blog, London based editor Andy Reinhardt unwinds the twists of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s call for a referendum on the bailout and austerity plan. The opposition terms this reckless, and the rest of Europe seems to agree. It’s not surprising that a lot of folks would think calling for a vote is reckless, but it is a breathtaking that they would actually say it.

The Germans and French undoubtedly think the same thing, but at least the Germans have pointedly refrained from comment. Which has got to be the right approach. It’s just really hard to find a tactful way to say that you want Greece’s government to push through a set of policies that you think will go down in flames in a popular vote. That is what most European leaders seem to want, but the worldwide Occupy Everywhere movement would have a field day if they admitted it.

Or will it go down in flames? Andy, I’m still not clear, what does Papandreou hope to accomplish? Is this supposed to to kill the plan? Is this a gambit to get better terms? Or does Papandreou expect the public to approve it? If so, he has a greater belief in the voters’ capacity for sacrifice than just about everyone else. If anyone in Europe has a good explanation for those on this side of the ocean, it would be valuable.


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