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Greek interim government to be formed shortly


08:21, November 09, 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Nov. 8, 2011. Power-sharing talks between Greece's two main political parties entered their second day Tuesday, as European leaders stepped up the pressure for a quick resolution by holding back a vital rescue loan that the country needs to prevent a devastating bankruptcy. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

ATHENS, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou asked on Tuesday his cabinet ministers to submit their resignations, paving the way for a new interim coalition government that is being formed and is expected to be announced shortly, local media reported.

After a cabinet meeting with Papandreou, ministers confirmed in a statement to national television channel NET that the outgoing prime minister expressed confidence that "a resolution could be reached soon."

Under mounting pressure from European counterparts who feared that a Greek default could destabilize the eurozone, it was agreed that Papandreou will step down and a new interim administration will take over to implement the bail-out package and lead the country to early general elections.

Former European Central Bank Vice-President Lucas Papademos, current financial advisor to Papandreou, was a favorite to head the new administration, according to unconfirmed media reports.

European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros and the country's representative at the International Monetary Fund Panagiotis Roumeliotis appeared to be amongst the main candidates for the post as well, said local reports.

The political crisis in Greece started a week ago with Papandreou's surprise call for a referendum on the EU October 26 deal that raised fear across the euro zone over a possible Greek exit from the European common currency and an imminent bankruptcy.

By the weekend Papandreou withdrew the plan amid a rebellion by ministers and ruling party deputies and opened talks on a wider consensus government with the opposition.

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