Greece Set for May 6 Election as Papademos Resigns

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
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Greece's technocrat prime minister, Lucas Papademos, is resigning Wednesday, setting the stage for the country's first national election since the debt crisis engulfed the Athens government.

Government officials said the election will be May 6, but the outcome is far from certain. Greeks have shown wide discontent with the country's two main parties, the socialists and conservatives, and they may not be able to win enough votes to form a government.

The current Athens coalition government bowed to international demands to impose sharp spending cuts and tax increases before winning approval for the country's second international bailout in two years to keep Greece from defaulting on its financial obligations. But thousands of Greeks have lost their jobs, and pensions for retirees have been cut, leading to frequent street protests.

As the Greek debt crisis heightened late last year, Mr. Papademos, a former European Central Bank official, was named as the caretaker prime minister. His role was to oversee the country's negotiations to cut its debt, secure the bailout and impose the cuts in spending for social programs.

He was set to tender his resignation to Greek President Carolos Papoulias, who then can dissolve parliament and set the new election for next month. Originally, elections were not planned until 2013.