Lucas Papademos named as new Greek prime minister

 

Lucas Papademos called for the nation to unite and to be optimistic about the future

Former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos has been named as Greece's new prime minister, following days of negotiations.

Mr Papademos, 64, said he was taking over at a "critical point" for Greece.

Leaders of the three main parties making up a new government of national unity had been meeting the Greek president to try to reach a deal.

Greeks will hope the news provides the stability to get them through their debt crisis, correspondents say.

Mr Papademos, who is not a member of parliament, will head an interim government until elections can take place in February.

The govermment's main task will to ensure debt-laden Greece gets its latest bailout payment, by approving a new 130bn euro ($177bn; £111bn) international rescue package from eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund.

"The president, after recommendations by political leaders who attended the meeting, has instructed Lucas Papademos to form a new government," the president's office said in a statement.

The new government will be sworn in at 12:00 GMT on Friday, a presidency official said.

Eurozone crisis

Start Quote

The job will not be easy, but I am convinced the problems will be solved”

End Quote Lucas Papademos New Greek PM

In other developments:

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied reports that France and Germany were preparing for a scaled-down eurozone, insisting that the only goal was to stabilise the zone in its current form and make it more competitive
  • Officials in the EU drastically cut the eurozone growth forecast from 1.8% to 0.5%, and said there was a risk of a new recession
  • Amid ongoing concerns over Italy's crippling debt level and soaring interest rates, Italy raised 5bn euros from a new issue of bonds but at a one-year interest rate of 6.087%

Speaking after the announcement, Mr Papademos said his job "will not be easy but I am convinced the problems will be solved... in a quicker and more efficient way if there is unity and consensus".

He said the first priorities of the transitional government were to ratify the bailout agreed at an EU summit last month, and to implement the policies linked to it.

That will involve another round of austerity measures, which have already proved hugely unpopular with the Greek public.

Analysis

Lucas Papademos is to take on one of the most unenviable jobs in Europe at the moment.

The bespectacled 64-year-old seemed the strongest choice in the current climate of turmoil.

He is seen as a non-partisan option, above the party politics that is so paralysing here. He is talked of by colleagues as a quiet, respected man - somebody who can steady the ship as it is buffeted by the waves of the financial crisis.

He helped Greece make the transition from the drachma to the euro - something he will now hope is a one-way process, and that there will be no disastrous exit from the eurozone as Greece's financial woes worsen.

Mr Papademos will clearly have strong European support given his past experience - but there will be some Greeks who see Europe's hand a little too clearly behind his appointment.

Mr Papademos will replace Greece's outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou, who was forced to step aside after a disastrous call for a referendum on the eurozone rescue package.

The referendum plan was dropped within a few days, but not before sparking the wider financial and political crisis which led to Mr Papandreou's forced withdrawal from the top job, even though he narrowly survived a confidence vote.

The new PM will also face a confidence vote in parliament, which is expected to happen on Monday, Greek state TV reported.

The Greek stock market jumped sharply when Mr Papademos arrived at the presidential palace to join the negotiations on Thursday morning.

Reports say Mr Papademos has accepted that the current Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, remains in place.

The exact framework of the new coalition government is yet to be agreed.

In Italy, meanwhile, there was increasing speculation that former European Commissioner Mario Monti would take over from outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The markets appeared to calm amid hopes that the economist would take over the reins shortly, correspondents say, and borrowing levels fell back from the previous day's record highs.

 

More on This Story

Global Economy

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 55.

    Regardless of his background and the politics of his appointment, i wish the man good luck.

    I do however fear the whole situation will dub him a Greek 'Gordon Brown'.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 52.

    I'd like to extend my congratulations to the new Prime minister by saying : We're not living in capitalism. We're not living in socialism. We're living in some weird economic situation with the banks controlling more than their share. It's like we're serving them rather than them serving us...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 40.

    A former ECT man to lead Greece through this mess? Come on!!!
    Don't get me wrong, he looks very clever and resourceful on paper, heck, he was ECT vice-president for 8 years, but what good will he do for the people of Greece who are the ones who have to suffer? He's just a pawn - anyone in this position would be compelled to sign up for whatever the EU throws at him/her.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 37.

    When we discuss the issue of democracy, let us not forget that the overwhelming majority of Greek people WANT to remain in the eurozone. This is NOT imposed upon the Greeks by the Germans, French or the EU. It's their choice made by the Greeks themselves. (Rather, an increasing number of Germans do not want Greece to remain in the eurozone.) Greece is doing what she can to remain in the eurozone.

 
 

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.