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24 August 2017
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Greek caretaker prime minister sworn in

 

Greek senior judge Panayiotis Pikrammenos was sworn in on Wednesday evening as caretaker prime minister to lead the debt-wracked country to fresh elections in June, according to Xinhua.

Pikrammenos, head of Greece`s top administrative court, was tasked with organizing the next general elections after leaders of political parties which entered the new parliament following the inconclusive May 6 national polls failed to broker an agreement on a coalition government.

The deadlock has fuelled fears over the country`s future in the eurozone amid a non-surrendering debt crisis that has threatened the country with default since late 2009.

Pikrammenos was named to form a caretaker cabinet during a meeting of Greek President Karolos Papoulias with all party chiefs, with the exception of the head of the neo-fascist Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party.

The new cabinet is scheduled to be named within hours and be sworn in on Thursday morning, according to local media reports. The parliament is due to be dissolved within days and new elections will be formally called.

"The sole task of this government is to lead the country to the ballots... I agree with you that the period is very difficult for Greece," Pikrammenos said during a meeting on Wednesday evening with his predecessor, Lucas Papademos, the technocrat who headed a six-month interim coalition government.

After clinching a bailout deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors, the second in two years, in addition to an agreement on a voluntary Greek state restructuring aiming to avoid a disorderly bankruptcy, Papademos` government led Greece to the May 6 polls.

The elections produced a new legislature divided among supporters and critics of the painful austerity conditions of the rescue packages.

According to all recent opinion surveys, the second round of elections in June - most likely to be held on June 17 according to Greek media reports - will most probably give a similar result, raising concerns whether Greece will fulfill its pledges under the bailout deals.

International lenders have warned that that they could cut off further financial support to Greece in such a case, a development that would trigger a chaotic Greek default and a probable exit for the country from the eurozone, which would destabilize more European economies.

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