Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou [official website] on Sunday, while delivering opening remarks to a three-day session of the Greek Parliament [official website, in Greek], proposed undertaking a constitutional referendum. Papandreou suggested a fall referendum [AP report], arguing its necessity in order to eliminate the systemic governmental inefficiency and waste that led to the country's recent economic crisis [BBC backgrounder] and to prosecute corrupt officials. Opponents described the proposal as a politically-motivated tactic to shift the dialogue away from questions of Papandreou's competency. The prime minister also stated that Greece is in negotiations to secure a second bailout package of approximately the same value as the 110 billion loan it received last May to alleviate the crisis. The debate is expected to conclude Tuesday with a confidence vote on Papandreou's government.
Greece's recent economic crisis threatened to destabilize the international economy. In May 2010, the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) [official website] announced the initial 110 billion bailout package for Greece, which was subsequently approved by euro-zone leaders [BBC report]. The following day, Germany's Constitutional Court [official website, in German] refused to issue a temporary injunction [JURIST report] against the country's 22.4 billion contribution to the bailout fund. The suit, brought by the same group that had previously sought to block Germany's adoption of the euro, claimed that the contribution was unconstitutional.