Greek Parties Pick Parliament Speaker as PM - Report
Greece's major political parties have picked Parliament Speaker Filippos Petsalnikos to head the country's new caretaker government, according to unconfirmed reports.
The news came from party sources cited by global media Wednesday night, as the talks between the ruling Socialist party PASOK and the rightist opposition New Democracy had been going on for days, and about the same time Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he was stepping down on Wednesday without saying who would succeed him.
Parties from left and right have settled on veteran socialist Filippos Petsalnikos, barring-last minute snags, the sources said, turning to their own political class.
In a television address before heading to meet the president, Papandreou wished the new prime minister well without giving any name and declared that Greece had avoided bankruptcy.
He also said the new government would win approval for Greece's 130 billion euro bailout deal and secure the nation's membership of the euro zone despite its crisis.
"I am proud that, despite the difficulties, we avoided bankruptcy and ensured the country stayed on its feet," he said. "I want to wish the new prime minister success, I will support the new effort with all my strength."
"Today, despite our differences -- political and social differences do exist -- we have put aside our fruitless conflict and disagreement," Papandreou said.
It was left to the party sources to give Greeks some idea of who their leader will be until early elections are held in February. They named speaker Filippos Petsalnikos, 60, who founded the PASOK party along with Papandreou's father Andreas, Greece's first socialist prime minister.
Greece's international lenders had put their faith in a plan for Lucas Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank, to head the new government as a technocrat and give it the credibility that politicians lost long ago.
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