Greek technocrat PM to return to academia after election

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2012 2:35 PM
Greek technocrat PM to return to academia after election

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's technocrat prime minister Lucas Papademos plans to resume his academic career after a snap election on May 6, a senior government official said, having secured a second bailout for the country.

A former vice president of the European Central Bank, Papademos took over as leader of an emergency coalition in November to help Greece secure the 130 billion euros ($170 billion) bailout and a landmark debt swap to avoid default.

He is a professor of economics at the University of Athens and a visiting professor at Harvard. He was expected to step down once the bailout was secured and elections held.

The head of his strategic planning office, George Pagoulatos, told the weekly Proto Thema newspaper published on Saturday: "Lucas Papademos was called in under a emergency situation for a tough task which he accomplished."

"He has academic duties and he intends to return to them."

Papademos' government includes the conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK parties, who remain the only two major parties to support the bailout.

Pollsters expect them to renew their coalition after the election, an outcome seen as the only viable option for Greece to continue implementing reforms and remain in the euro zone.

Papademos' name has cropped up in the past as a potential candidate to head such a coalition, but comments by leaders of both parties have suggested that is unlikely.

Antonis Samaras, the head of New Democracy and frontrunner in the election race, has said that Greece's next prime minister should be the head of the biggest party.

Asked about the same issue, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos told MEGA television on Saturday that he would prefer a politician in the prime minister's post after the poll.

"The natural and responsible thing would be to have a politician as a prime minister," Venizelos said.

"It is not a right solution to have a neutral technocrat who does not assume the political cost" of decisions taken, he said.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Louise Ireland)