Technocrat Lucas Papademos is taking over as Greece's new prime minister
Newly appointed Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is seen at the Presidential Palace / Reuters
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After days of political wrangling, Greece named Lucas Papademos as its next prime minister, a technocrat and former European Central Bank vice president who Athens hopes will be able to shepherd the country through a thicket of fiscal austerity measures and preserve its membership in the eurozone (NYT). Papademos, who replaced embattled Prime Minister George Papandreou, said his "transitional" administration will be focused intently on restoring confidence in the country's primary financiers--the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF--in order to secure another crucial round of bailouts.
What's at Stake?
Papademos faces the task of staving off a Greek bankruptcy in December when big debt repayments become due. This will require him to gain parliamentary approval for a second EU bailout, push through the country's 2012 budget, and secure the latest $5.73 billion installment of the original rescue package. The fiscal collapse of Greece, only a small part of the eurozone economy, would also raise questions as to the EU's ability to manage potential crises in the far bigger Italian or Spanish economies, reports Deutsche Welle. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi added to the continent's political tumult on Wednesday, agreeing to resign after the country's ten-year government bonds hit levels not seen since the establishment of the euro.