|Greece needs a unity government to take the crisis-hit country out of economic paralysis [Reuters]|
Greece’s power-sharing talks have entered a fourth day, with the country’s president hosting a meeting of party heads a day after negotiations descended into chaos and politicians failed to name a new interim prime minister.
George Papandreou, the outgoing prime minister, Antonis Samaras, the head of the opposition conservatives, and George Karatzaferis, the leader of a small right-wing party, were meeting with President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday morning to settle on a new prime minister and cabinet.
Former European Central Bank deputy Lucas Papademos, who reports indicated could be given the reins of government, arrived at the presidental mansion later on Thursday, state TV NET said.
The talks come after negotiations on Monday night collapsed, with Karatzaferis storming out in a rage only minutes after entering the presidential mansion.
The hope is that the fourth day of talks will finally yield a new prime minister to head an interim government that will secure the country’s continued bailout funding.
European leaders have been pressing for an end to the political turmoil in Athens that has endangered the country’s bailout funding and even its continued presence in the eurozone.
“This is the third time I’m coming here for [this] issue, and I hope it’s the last,” Samaras said as he arrived for the meeting.
Papandreou, whose father and grandfather were both prime ministers, bade the nation farewell with a sentimental televised speech on Wednesday after two austerity-filled years at the helm.
Whoever finally wins the job will be given the task to persuade the EU and International Monetary Fund to disburse an $11bn slice of aid from a 2010 bailout deal, without which the country faces a catastrophic default within weeks.
Then they must force through painful austerity measures exacted as the price for a second EU bailout package which gives Athens $74bn in loans,
France and Germany last week gave Athens a stark choice: adopt belt-tightening measures or leave the euro.