New prime minister names caretaker cabinet
Greece's new prime minister, a top judge who is the country's first female premier, named the members of her caretaker government Friday as the country heads to early elections next month, the third time Greeks will go to the polls this year.
The appointments come a day after Supreme Court head Vassiliki Thanou was sworn into office. The 65-year-old was appointed after outgoing prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last week, barely seven months into his four-year mandate, following a rebellion by members of his radical-left SYRIZA party who objected to his agreement with the conditions of Greeces third international bailout.
The finance ministry post went to Giorgos Houliarakis, an academic who had been on Greeces negotiating team during talks with creditors. Popular Greek pop singer Alkistis Protopsalti was named tourism minister. The new cabinet was sworn in Friday.
Elections are widely expected to be set for Sept. 20. Tsipras has said he needs a stronger mandate to implement the tough austerity measures accompanying the three-year, 86 billion euro bailout, but an opinion poll published in the left-leaning Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper Friday found small support for his move.
Sixty-four percent said Tsipras' decision to call the snap poll was wrong, compared to 24 percent who considered it correct. The remainder took no position or did not reply.
Sixty-eight percent said they believe the country should remain within the euro even if it means further austerity measures and sacrifices. Asked whether the government got the best deal it could for the third bailout, 48 percent said yes and 45 percent disagreed.
The poll showed SYRIZA supported by 23 percent, compared to 26 percent in an early July survey by the same company. The conservative New Democracy party stood at about 20 percent compared to 15 percent in July.
The small nationalist Independent Greeks, SYRIZA's partner in the seven-month coalition government, were backed by 2 percent, below the 3 percent threshold for to enter Parliament.
Tsipras has ruled out forming a coalition with any of the center-right or center-left parties if he fails to win a majority to govern outright, meaning he would be unable to form a government unless a party that didn't make it into parliament last time manages to win above 3 percent.
The poll was conducted by the ProRata company on Aug. 25-26 with a sample of 1,000 people nationwide and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.