Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou headed for a crisis party meeting on Thursday after lawmakers defected and dissenters doubted his ability to deal with a looming financial meltdown.
More than a fifth of the Pasok party's deputies called for an emergency meeting after talks on a coalition collapsed in the wake of mass anti-austerity protests as Papandreou struggled to form a new government.
Papandreou held a round of talks with several key ministers before heading into the meeting with his 155 lawmakers. State television NET said the prime minister would push through with a planned reshuffle and instructed dissenters to voice their opposition in a confidence vote on the new government slated for late Sunday at the earliest.
“Stability is our goal,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters as he headed into the parliament meeting.
“The economy and the country must stand upright and loans from our peers must continue without interruption. We guarantee this stability,” he said.
Several deputies had earlier criticised a policy of cutbacks overseen by the EU and the IMF, which saved Greece from bankruptcy last year, that is deemed to have plunged the economy into an even deeper recession despite huge sacrifices.
“For the past 18 months, efforts to deal with the problem have gone from bad to worse,” Socialist lawmaker Nikos Salagiannis told reporters. “There is a governance gap,” added deputy Dimitris Lintzeris.
Two deputies, former deputy ministers George Floridis and Hector Nassiokas, quit their seats in protest at the government's economic policies and the failure of talks with the conservative opposition to form a national unity administration.