Ex-banker Papademos is new Greek prime minister

Leader charged with keeping the debt-strapped country out of bankruptcy, in the eurozone

Topics: Greece, European Financial Crisis, From the Wires,

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Senior banker Lucas Papademos was named Thursday as the prime minister of the new Greek interim government, charged with keeping the debt-strapped country out of bankruptcy and firmly in the 17-nation eurozone.

After four days of intense political negotiations, the 64-year-old former vice president of the European Central Bank was chosen to lead a coalition backed by both the governing Socialists and opposition conservatives that will operate until early elections in February.

He replaces outgoing Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou midway through his four-year term.

A statement from the president’s office said Papademos would form an interim government that will secure and implement the decisions of a euro130 billion ($177 billion) European debt deal agreed upon during a summit in Brussels on Oct. 27.

The new cabinet will be sworn in Friday afternoon.

His selection came on the fourth day of tortuous power-sharing talks between Greece’s main political parties.

The latest Greek crisis erupted last week, when Papandreou said he would put the hard-fought European debt deal, that involves private bondholders canceling 50 percent of their Greek debt holdings, to a referendum. The announcement horrified European leaders, sparked a rebellion in his own party and caused an uproar in financial markets.

Papandreou withdrew the referendum plan and agreed to step aside for a unity government

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