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Greece PM proposes constitutional referendum

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.

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