Greece gets caretaker PM until new vote in June

May 17, 2012 • World News

Newly appointed caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikramenos talks with Greece President Karolos Papoulias, not seen, during their meeting at the Presidential palace in Athens, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. The head of Greece’s Council of State will take the reins of the country until it holds new elections on June 17, a meeting of party leaders decided Wednesday, a day after power-sharing talks collapsed. (AP Photo/John Kolesidis, Pool)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A senior judge has been sworn in to head Greece’s caretaker government for a month as the debt-crippled country lurches through a political crisis that threatens its membership in the 17-nation eurozone.

The political uncertainty is worrying Greece’s international creditors as well as Greeks themselves, who have withdrawn hundreds of millions of euros from banks since the May 6 election.

Council of State head Panagiotis Pikramenos, 67, was appointed Wednesday to head a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until a new election, which is expected June 17.

His 16-strong Cabinet will be sworn in Thursday.

About €700 million ($898 million) in deposits have left Greek banks since May 7, the day after the election, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders after being briefed by central bank governor George Provopoulos.

“The situation in the banks is very difficult,” Papoulias said according to a transcript of the meeting’s minutes released Tuesday night. “Mr. Provopoulos told me that of course there is no panic, but there is great fear which could turn into panic.”

There were no queues at banks in Athens after the May 6 election, but Greeks have been gradually withdrawing their savings over the past two years as the country’s financial crisis deepened, either sending the money abroad or keeping it in their homes.

A Greek banking official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the situation with deposit outflows was “calmer” on Wednesday.

Theodore Krintas, managing director of Attica Wealth Management, said he “would expect the population to quietly be doing what it has been doing in the last days.”

“In other words, some of the Greek citizens are Login to read more

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