Greece names interim premier ahead of snap polls


Athens: Greece’s Supreme Court Chief Judge Vassiliki Thanou was on Thursday appointed to head the transitional government that will lead the country to snap general elections in September. The 65-year-old judge became the first woman to take up the post of Greece’s Prime Minister, Xinhua reported. President Prokopis Pavlopoulos named Thanou as transitional prime minister to lead the country to early general elections within a month, according to an official announcement issued by the president’s office.

Thanou, who has served as Supreme Court judge since 2008, was promoted to Supreme Court Vice President in 2014 and finally, became head of the Supreme Court on July 1 this year. She was the second woman serving as Supreme Court president. According to local media reports, technocrat Yorgos Chouliarakis, a key member in Greece’s financial team during negotiations with international creditors in recent years, will be appointed finance minister of the debt-laden country. Veteran diplomat Petros Molyviatis who has served twice as minister of foreign affairs was expected to take over the same portfolio until the next government is formed after the elections.

Also on Friday Pavlopoulos was expected to set the date of the ballots, with most likely September 20. On the same day the parliament was expected to be formally dissolved. Thursday’s announcement came shortly after Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of the third largest parliamentary group, the newly formed Popular Unity, informed the head of state that he did not achieve to form a government from the current parliament. Following the resignation of the outgoing Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the failure of leaders of the three largest parties in parliament to form a new government in three different bids after receiving mandates, under the Greek constitution the president named the Supreme Court chief as transitional premier. Tsipras and his government stepped down last Thursday forcing the elections just eight months after the January 25 national polls that brought the Radical Left SYRIZA party in power. Tsipras called early elections after 25 of his MPs quit Syriza over the bailout he agreed with European creditors and formed the left-wing Popular Unity party.