Lucas Papademos sworn in as new Greek PM

Technocrat PM Lucas Papademos is heading a coalition cabinet filled with many of the same politicians who led Greece into crisis.

Athens: Technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos took office on Friday to save Greece from bankruptcy, heading a coalition cabinet filled with many of the same politicians who led the nation into crisis.

At a colourful swearing-in ceremony, bearded Orthodox priests, led by the Archbishop of Athens, blessed Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, and a cabinet dominated by the two main parties which had bickered for four days before agreeing on the crisis coalition.

Apart from Papademos, who has no political experience, the main new face in the cabinet is a minister from the LAOS party -- the first time the far right has entered a Greek government since the country returned to democracy in 1974 following years of military rule.

The line-up includes socialist party power broker Evangelos Venizelos, who keeps the post as finance minister that he held in the outgoing government of George Papandreou, which imploded last week.

Analysts said Papademos would have to assert his authority over a cabinet packed with the conservative and socialist party politicians who alternated power for decades as Greece built up a huge debt that it could not manage, forcing a bailout.

"Greece has a government that is the result of political compromise among three parties. It is obvious that there was a dealing of the cards," said Costas Panagopoulos, head of ALCO pollsters.

"It all now depends on how the Prime Minister handles them."

Bureau Report

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