November 5th, 2011
03:37 PM GMT
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Athens, Greece - What a difference a day can make. It's saturday and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has survived the midnight confidence vote, seen President Karolos Papoulias and is now going about forming a coalition government with a few smaller parties.

Does it matter who forms a coalition government?  Not really. The bottom line is that whoever is the next Prime Minister - and my money is on Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos – s/he will still have to cobble together a majority of the 300-member parliament to do one thing and one thing only: pass the massive austerity package agreed in Brussels on 27 October. It’s that simple.

The Greeks don’t like the pain and austerity that has been imposed on them by their own government in return for massive loans from the IMF and the European Union. But there is really no choice. Sure, the opposition party, New Democracy, has promised less pain - but don’t parties out of power always promise that? Anyway, the word on the street in Athens is that New Democracy will not be a part of any coalition government.


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