NEWS

Top judge Thanou becomes Greece's first female prime minister

Greece’s caretaker prime minister Vassiliki Thanou (l) escorts outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras following a handover ceremony at the prime minister’s office at Maximos Mansion in Athens, on Thursday.

TAGS: Politics

Vassiliki Thanou was installed on Thursday as Greece’s first, albeit caretaker, female prime minister and given the task of guiding the country to snap elections on September 20.

The caretaker cabinet is due to be sworn in at noon on Friday. Veteran diplomat Petros Molyviatis is due to be named foreign minister, while a key member of Greece’s negotiating team for the third bailout, Giorgos Houliarakis, is expected to be made finance minister.

Academic Antonis Manitakis, who served in a previous coalition, is due to take over at the Interior Ministry, where he will be responsible for overseeing the election process, which is expected to cost close to 40 million euros. Deputy Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, a former judge, will be promoted to the senior position at the ministry.

Thanou was sworn in last night after President Prokopis Pavlopoulos called all the party leaders individually on Thursday afternoon and established there was no prospect of a government being formed from the current administration.

Outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, coalition partner Panos Kammenos, Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and Communist Party chief Dimitris Koutsoubas all declined the opportunity to take part in the face-to-face discussion, leaving Pavlopoulos with little choice but to abandon the process.

Earlier, Popular Unity leader Panayiotis Lafazanis met Pavlopoulos to hand back the exploratory mandate he had received and urged the president not to speak to the party leaders on the telephone but to force them all to come to a meeting.

New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis continued to insist on Thursday that snap elections could have been avoided and claimed that if the conservatives win the ballot, he will attempt to form a government of the “most able and worthy, regardless of what they voted for.”

He also accused Tsipras of trying to “turn his naivety into an advantage.” Meimarakis told MPs that he would focus over the next three weeks on showing voters that he is more reliable than the SYRIZA leader. “I won’t tell lies like he does,” he said.

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