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.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 74.

    I can just see him asking:

    "You want all the salads?"

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 73.

    Bless him... must have been the one to have picked the very short straw in that meeting!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 72.

    I've read this article and the bio attached, I've even been to Wikipedia but nowhere can I see anything that states this man has been elected by a democratically accountable vote to any position. Have we returned to the age of the dictator as in the Roman republic rather than the more modern understanding of the term?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    It is a choice that gives an opportunity to a man that is suited to negotiate with the European financial nomenclature with which he is at home and in tune much more than the other candidate Petsalnikos who was more of a traditional Greek politician. I think he can operate within the labyrinthine intricacies of the financial bureaucracy-will that be better for the people?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 70.

    58. arthur
    ===

    Please forgive me would you Arthur but I haven't the slightest inkling of what your trying to say. Would you please explain it a little more clearly?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 69.

    The first of perhaps many non-elected imposed PM’s/governments for some Eurozone countries. What a fiasco and joke this whole EU/Euro project has become, RIP democracy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    If he has any sense, he'll do what Newcastle United did and find a big sponsor. Take the cash and rename the country.

    Sportos Directopolous? Nice ring to it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 67.

    A banker in charge of Greece. Poor Greece they don't deserve this.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 66.

    Says it all really...a failed money man running the country. Brace yourselves, Greek people, it's going to get a whole lot worse.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 65.

    55 cthulhu

    Never mind a Greek Gordon Brown. He sounds like a Greek David Cameron, faced with a massive economic problem stemming from years wilful neglect and failure to face up to a problem. Likewise he will do his level best to correct the situation and make himself a national hate-figure in the process.

    The guy (the Greek one) deserves a medal up front considering what he faces!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 64.

    but will he be able to get the non public sector employees to pay tax?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 63.

    SpunkyD The government made popular decisions, not the right ones

    Who is the government? Who did incredibly well out of fees/interest on the debt? Who is shifting all their assets to offshore tax haven (for the rich) GB?

    And who has been left with the bill? (Including the owners of the banks taking big haircuts - err, that will be us)

    That's all you need to know - its staring you in the face

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 62.

    aren't we missing something with Papademos here?? Isn't he the man that took Greece into the Euro on the back of data which proved to be wholly false, thus bringing into question if it was appropriate for Greece to join the euro in the first place?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    36 SpunkyD
    I may want a Rolls Royce but if any lender (including a [b]*anker) won't lend me the money to buy one then I can't get it. And if they would lend me the money on my income they are downright stupid and/or incompetent. It takes two to tango. *ankers are by no means innocent "as any fule kno" . Apologies to Molesworth.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 60.

    @38.Kooks, the name translates as "Father or the People", or "of the People", As in democracy -> demos (people)+kratos (power). So in fact it is more ironic yet.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 59.

    @Kooks Papademos does not mean "Father Demon" in Greek.
    Did you google-translate that??? LOL!
    It actually means something like "Father of the State"

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 58.

    The British! Are you sure that you're not rolling to deep pit alongside Greece? What do you know about the debt of Britain? Budget? Are there no tokens to worry about? There are...put aside some money today.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 57.

    To: 36.SpunkyD.You really do not have an idea of what is going on.I am Greek and I belong to these 2,5 million Greeks in the Private Sector.When you mention Greeks, Mention Greek Public Sector Servants.We in the Private sector,we do not work 8 hours,we work over 10 hrs per day otherwise we would be fired.Whereas other Europeans work 5 hours,2 hours in the internet,1 hour eating&drinking(Germans)

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 56.

    This was the guy who took Greece in to the Euro.

    Now he has been brought back to potentially reverse the process.

    Is he doing community service under an ASBO?

  • 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'.

 

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