Papademos walks into a tumult: After days of chaotic political wrangling and general panic over Greece’s debt crisis (as well as the euro zone writ large, as Italy teeters on a dire edge), a new Prime Minister has been selected to replace the outgoing George Papandreau. The new man in charge is Lucas Papademos, the former VP of the European Central Bank. “The course will not be easy. But the problems, I’m convinced, will be solved. They will be solved faster, with a smaller cost and in an efficient way, if there is unity, agreement and prudence,” he said. source
» Harsh words for the opposition: George Papandreou, the leader of the Socialist Party, had this to say towards the opposition New Democrats in the heat of the all-important vote: “All of Europe knows that your party is responsible for the current situation.” The vote, which only one member of parliament on either side crossed lines for, means that the country will receive a $17 billion rescue plan to make it through the Summer, with a second, much larger one in the works. Meanwhile, outside parliament, large-scale protests continued unabated.
» 48-hour general strike called: With Greece facing a difficult austerity vote today, protesters have shown up by the thousands outside of the country’s parliament. The strike has shut down most public services, including transit. Airports and hospitals have also suffered the deep effects of the strikes. The passage of the measures, however, is key — a large loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund rests on their passage. If they don’t get it, they risk going into default, which would be very bad.