Greece gets caretaker PM until next vote in June

by
May 17, 2012

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – A senior judge was sworn in Wednesday to head Greece’s caretaker government for a month as the debt-crippled country lurches through a political crisis that threatens its membership in the 17-nation eurozone.

The political uncertainty is worrying Greece’s international creditors as well as Greeks themselves, who have withdrawn hundreds of millions of euros from banks since the May 6 election.

Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, 67, was appointed earlier Wednesday to head a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until a new election, which is expected June 17.

About €700 million ($898 million) in deposits have left Greek banks since May 7, the day after the election, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders after being briefed by central bank governor George Provopoulos.

“The situation in the banks is very difficult,” Papoulias said according to a transcript of the meeting’s minutes released Tuesday night. “Mr. Provopoulos told me that of course there is no panic, but there is great fear which could turn into panic.”

There were no queues at banks in Athens after the May 6 election, but Greeks have been gradually withdrawing their savings over the past two years as the country’s financial crisis deepened, either sending the money abroad or keeping it in their homes.

A Greek banking official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the situation with deposit outflows was “calmer” on Wednesday.

Theodore Krintas, managing director of Attica Wealth Management, said he “would expect the population to quietly be doing what it has been doing in the last days.”

“In other words, some of the Greek citizens are afraid and are taking a portion of the money, but I’m not expecting a bank run,” Krintas said.

To read more, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-05-16/greece-elections/55027448/1

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