Friday, 11 November 2011

Greece to swear in new government By the CNN Wire Staff

Athens, Greece (CNN) -- Greece plans to swear in a new unity government Friday led by economist Lucas Papademos as the nation seeks to regain political and financial stability after days of uncertainty.
Papademos, a former banker and European Central Bank vice president, takes on as the country's interim prime minister after four days of political wrangling.

The exact make-up of his Cabinet has not been announced.

Once the new ministers are sworn in at the presidential mansion, they are expected to head to the Greek parliament. The Cabinet is expected to hold its first meeting after that.
Papademos pledged the new government's chief task will be to implement a bailout package and austerity measures agreed to with European leaders last month.

He also restated Greece's commitment to the euro, saying its membership of the eurozone, the 17 nations that use the euro as currency, was a guarantee of financial stability.
It is hoped that the national unity government will restore political stability in Greece after several days of turmoil that have unnerved global financial markets.

Papademos, who helped usher Greece into the euro in 2001, replaces outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou, who resigned over his handling of the crisis.

The new government will be sworn in at 2 p.m. local time, the president's office said Friday. Fresh elections are likely in February.

Papademos said the government's formation would allow Greece to "face the problems in the near future in the best possible way."

The country is "at a critical crossroads," the 64-year-old said, and the choices it makes and policies it implements "will have a crucial importance for the welfare of the Greek people."

Papademos said Greece's course would not be easy, but that the country's problems would be solved -- and that would happen "sooner, at a lower cost and in a more efficient way, if there is unity, consensus and reasonableness."

He said he had accepted the president's mandate to form a unity government because he felt everyone should contribute to the country's recovery. "The task is big, and the responsibility I assume is even bigger," he said.

Greece's new government must act quickly to ratify the latest European bailout package to ensure the next tranche of money from a 2010 deal is released.
Papademos, an economics professor at Harvard University, was the governor of the Bank of Greece when the country adopted the euro in 2001.

He has advised Papandreou on economic matters for the past two years, the Athens News Agency reported.

A native of Athens, Papademos studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees before receiving a doctorate in economics, the news agency said. He has taught economics at Columbia University and the University of Athens.

The outgoing prime minister triggered the political crisis by announcing plans last week to call a referendum on the bailout deal.

The drama in Greece has shaken international markets, with investors afraid the new bailout deal -- which has stringent austerity measures attached -- may not be implemented.

CNN's Elinda Labropoulou and Andrew Carey contributed to this report.