By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The head of Greece's Council of State will take the reins of the country until it holds new elections on June 17, political party leaders decided Wednesday, a day after power-sharing talks collapsed, state TV reported.
Greece's president will convene a broader meeting with the heads of several political parties Tuesday in a final push to find agreement on forming a government, more than a week after elections gave no party a majority in parliament.
Critical last-ditch talks to form a coalition government in crisis-struck Greece foundered once more Sunday, leading the country one step closer to new elections, although the socialist party leader said he retained 'existing but limited' optimism for a deal.
Critical talks to form a governing coalition in crisis-struck Greece foundered once more, leading the country one step closer to new elections — and bringing its continued use of the euro into serious doubt.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Wednesday called a general election for May 6, after his coalition government pushed through landmark financial relief deals that rescued the country from the threat of bankruptcy but doomed recession-hit Greeks to greater hardship.
Mounting political tensions and frustration at a lack of resolution over whether Greece will get a vital bailout rekindled fears Thursday that Europe's debt crisis could spread to other countries.
Some eurozone countries have strong doubts over whether a second massive bailout can save Greece, officials said Wednesday, even as Athens rushed to meet tough conditions to qualify for the 130-billion-euro ($170 billion) rescue.
He was known for his slow and dream-like directing style and had enough stamina at 76 to be working on his latest movie.
Greece's prime minister struggled Saturday to form a temporary coalition government in the near-bankrupt country, extending a political deadlock threatening billions in international rescue funds.
Greek police fired tear gas at groups of youths hurling firebombs on the edge of an anti-austerity rally outside Parliament, where the struggling government on Wednesday was to seek support for new cutbacks to avoid a default that would be disastrous for financial markets.
"The atmosphere, symbolism and historical context of his cinematic storytelling went beyond the art form that he worked in and inspired young filmmakers," Greek President Karolos Papoulias said Wednesday. "(This) occurred at a time when he was extremely creative and the country was in need of his insight, making his absence all the more painful."
"But on the other hand, everyone has to assume their responsibilities," he said, according to a transcript of their conversation released by the prime minister's office. "In any case, we will move forward with this sense of responsibility and the necessary decisions"