September 20, 2011 / 12:50 AM / 8 years ago

Greece may hold referendum on euro zone membership-paper

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Greece may hold a voter referendum on euro zone membership as a way to strengthen the government’s hand in dealing with the debt crisis within the euro zone or by exiting the single currency, the Kathimerini English language newspaper reported on its website on Tuesday.

Prime Minister George Papandreou is considering calling for the referendum as pressure has mounted from all sides with Greece’s foreign creditors pushing for quicker budget cuts, while large-scale citizen street protests against austerity are held almost daily, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

A bill to be submitted in parliament, paving the way for a referendum, is to be discussed in the coming days, the newspaper added.

For the newspaper website, see: http://www.ekathimerini.com

Papandreou had earlier resisted any referendum, but now thinks such a vote could bring a fresh mandate for his Socialist government to continue with an austerity drive backed by Greece’s international lenders, the newspaper said.

The cabinet is reportedly split, with several ministers calling for drastic action including early elections at an emergency meeting on Sunday, the newspaper said, while others want to avoid a referendum or new polls. (Writing by Ed Layne in Singapore; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)

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