Wednesday 24 January 2018

Surprise candidate Petsalnikos favourite to become new Greek Prime Minister

FLIPPOS Petsalnikos – the house speaker of the Greek parliament – is the favourite to be annointed as the man to head Greece’s new government.

"We have agreed on Petsalnikos, but things can change between now and when the prime minister sees the president," a source close to the discussions between the ruling Socialists and the conservative opposition New Democracy claimed.

Outgoing PM George Papandreou - who today resigned, bringing down the outgoing government - and opposition leader Antonis Samaras had been locked in talks since Sunday on who will lead the new administration.

Former ECB vice-president Lucas Papademos had been tipped as the leading candidate to lead the government of national unity.

But sources in both parties said this was now very unlikely and the two sides were looking at ‘‘other options’’ to resolve a crisis kicked off by Prime Minister George Papandreou's misjudged plan for a referendum on the bailout.

"The Papademos candidacy has hit problems that have to do with both parties," one of the sources told Reuters.

Some Greek media reported Mr Papademos had set conditions that the parties would not accept, and others that there were objections from finance minister Evangelos Venizelos.

The new administration will then take the country to elections in February.

There has been growing impatience from the EU and fears among ordinary Greeks that the deadlock could push their country towards an exit from the eurozone.

Mr Papandreou had briefed French president Nicolas Sarkozy by phone today on the negotiations for a new government.

In the past two days, government sources have made a number of optimistic predictions about forming the government.

The new administration must secure a €130bn bailout before Greece runs out of cash.

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