Caretakers start job till next Greek poll

Caretakers start job till next Greek poll

Caretakers start job till next Greek poll

The newly appointed caretaker Cabinet is sworn in during a ceremony at the Presidental palace in Athens. AFP photo

Greece’s caretaker Cabinet was sworn in yesterday and will lead the country into next month’s election. The country’s former head of the army general staff Frangos Frangoulis has been named as defense minister.

The 16-member Cabinet was sworn in during a ceremony in the presidential mansion in Athens, followed by the swearing in of Parliament’s 300 legislators, who will take their seats for just one day before the body is dissolved for the new vote.

‘New battle begins’

The temporary team, led by 67-year-old Panagiotis Pikrammenos, the head of Greece’s top administrative court, is made up of mainly prominent university professors, a retired general and a respected diplomat. George Zannias, formerly head of the state’s council of economic advisers and a key negotiator in Greece’s landmark debt rollover, has been appointed finance minister. Petros Molyviatis, an 83-year-old retired diplomat, returns to head the foreign ministry after a stint from 2004 to 2006. The caretaker administration was appointed after Greece’s political parties failed to cobble together a coalition following the May 6 elections which saw a voter backlash against austerity and in which no clear victor emerged. “The new battle begins,” conservative New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras told party cadres. “It will determine whether Greece will remain in Europe, a Europe that is itself changing.” Syriza’s 37-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras May 16 accused the EU and Chancellor Angela Merkel of European paymaster Germany of “playing poker with European people’s lives.” Tsipras told the BBC that if the “disease of austerity destroys Greece, it will spread to the rest of Europe.”
Among the legislators who took their seats for the day were 21 from the extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party. The party campaigned on pledges to rid Greece of immigrants and clean up crime-ridden neighborhoods. It also advocates planting landmines along Greece’s border with Turkey to stop more immigrants from entering the country. The caretaker government will not be able to take any internationally binding decisions, and its sole aim is to lead the country into the new elections, which are expected June 17. Parliament is to be dissolved today, and the election date officially set.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.