...I can understand why Greece President George Papandreou put the EU bailout of his country up for a popular referendum: you might as well make sure the people understand the terms of the arrangement, and whether they want to accept it or drop out of the EU. Too, you disable your opposition from calling the deal unpopular or rushed through without the support of the people.
On the other, the timing seems a little off to me. He's already survived a confidence vote this year, so this measure merely opens up that can of worms again.
However, he has a couple of things going for him. His party holds a slim two-seat majority in the Greek legislature.A vote of no confidence means a general election would be forced, which would likely see his party lose seats and therefore, power. Likely, the votes would go along party lines, and Papandreou would live on to fight another day.
Also, the call for a referendum has been coyly raised so nebulously that it almost forces the EU, particularly the Germans, to take another look at the deal with an eye towards sweetening the pot a little. After all, a Greek collapse and pull-out of the EU would trigger a cascade effect of defaults and write-downs that would impact the fragile recovery the west is enduring.