Monday, June 24, 2024
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Greek parties resume PM search, Papademos re-emerges

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ATHENS: Greek political leaders resumed their search on Thursday for a deal on a new Prime Minister after one agreement collapsed, with a former top European Central Bank official re-emerging as favourite for the post.

Outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leaders arrived smiling at the presidential palace for a fourth day of talks on a crisis coalition that must secure financial aid before Greece runs out of money in a just over a month.

”This is the third time that I’ve come here over the same issue. I hope it will be the last,” conservative leader Antonis Samaras told reporters on his way to the meeting.

The collapse late on Wednesday of a deal to install the parliamentary speaker as Prime Minister has revived the chances of former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos being named for the job.

Greek banking shares rose 6.7 per cent in morning trade on Thursday on hopes that a deal was finally in the bag, and that the well-respected Papademos would be named.

The stakes are high. As well as winning parliamentary approval for the bailout, the coalition has to pass the 2012 budget and secure the latest 8 billion euro instalment of Greece’s original rescue that was pulled together last year, to avoid bankruptcy when big debt repayments come due in December.

Ordinary Greeks are worried that a failure to resolve the political mess will ultimately push the country to a bleaker future outside the euro zone.

Papandreou said on Wednesday he was handing over to a coalition that turned out not to exist due to the deal’s collapse, and then failed to install speaker Filippos Petsalnikos, an old-style politician and personal ally, as Prime Minister.

On a day that was bizarre and chaotic even by Greek political standards, Papandreou wished his successor well and headed off to meet the president — only for it to emerge that there was no successor due to feuding in the political parties. (UNI)

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