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Greece: caretaker PM to be appointed before repeat election

Greece’s president will appoint a caretaker prime minister on Wednesday to form a government that will lead the country to a repeat election on June 25, after last weekend’s inconclusive vote.

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The conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stormed to victory polling 40.1 percent last Sunday, but fell short of an outright majority.

The country’s top three parties, including New Democracy, have turned down a mandate for a governing coalition, pushing for a second vote on June 25.

Mitsotakis believes a second vote, which gives the leading party bonus seats, will give New Democracy the majority needed to rule alone.

Opposition parties also declined separate offers to seek a coalition after failing to secure the necessary number of seats in the 300-seat legislature. They hope a second vote will boost their ratings.

Interim measures
On Wednesday, the president invited the leaders of all the parties whose share of votes surpassed the threshold of 3 percent to discuss steps forward. The invitation was procedural, and the brief talks did not produce a coalition government.

Under Greece’s constitution, if coalition talks fail, the president appoints a caretaker prime minister to lead the country to a repeat vote.

The task will be handed to Ioannis Sarmas, a senior judicial official who is president of the Hellenic Court of Audit, one of the country’s three senior courts.

The leader of the Communist KKE party Dimitris Koutsoumbas said a repeat election would be held on June 25.

The new parliament which emerged from the May 21 election will convene next Sunday and be dissolved a day later before the caretaker government takes over.

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