NEWS

Papademos back in frame for job of PM

Following the collapse on Wednesday night of talks aimed at agreeing on the formation of an interim government, the name of former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos was again strongly linked with the role of prime minister in the short-term administration.

Until Wednesday night?s meeting between Prime Minister George Papandreou and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, it looked as if Parliament Speaker Filippos Petsalnikos would be appointed premier. However, the proposal was rejected by Samaras and some PASOK and ND MPs.

Papademos served as Bank of Greece governor and was one of the architects of the country?s entry into the eurozone. He was the first candidate to be linked with the prime minister?s post. His credentials were discussed on Sunday, when Papandreou and Samaras met for the first time.

However, Papandreou did not contact Papademos after the meeting. There was concern that the Harvard professor would ask for certain guarantees that he would be allowed to shape policy without intervention from the parties in the coalition. Sources said Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos appeared to balk at Papademos?s demands, fearing that he would be marginalized and possibly left out of the new government.

Ruling PASOK then turned to other potential candidates that included Petsalnikos and veteran MP Apostolos Kaklamanis.

There were reports that after Wednesday night?s failed talks, Papademos was contacted again about taking on the premiership. He is said to have set certain terms, which included all the coalition parties giving written commitments to adopting Greece?s agreements with the EU and IMF, more members of New Democracy in the interim administration than previously suggested, and for elections to be held later than February 19.