Greek Finance Minister: Gov't Should Ditch Referendum

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos called on the Greek government to categorically rule out a referendum on a crucial bailout plan and do everything to implement the deal.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou earlier said he was open to scrapping the referendum if the opposition backed the bailout package, but has not ruled out the plan altogether.

Venizelos had initially backed the referendum but later broke ranks with his prime minister, arguing that it was not what Greece needed at this time.

In a speech to fellow Socialist lawmakers on Thursday, Venizelos said the bailout ought to be approved by an increased majority of 180 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament. He said the debt-choked country needed its sixth tranche of aid from foreign lenders before Dec. 15.