9 Nov 2011

New Greek coalition government 'imminent'

10:34 pm on 9 November 2011

Officials in Greece say a new coalition government will be announced shortly.

Talks between outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and Antonis Samaras, the leader of the largest opposition party, have dragged into a third day.

Sources said earlier negotiations on getting the former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos to lead the interim government were being concluded, but details still had to be ironed out.

Greece is under massive international pressure to resolve its political crisis and pass a key bailout package.

The deal requires severe cuts to public spending in Greece, and the agreement was thrown into doubt after Mr Papandreou declared he would hold a referendum.

The announcement sparked intense criticism and he was forced to retract the idea.

A socialist party source says progress is being made on the "100-day government", which must push the €130 billion bailout through parliament before calling elections in February.

Mr Papandreou agreed on Monday to step down as part of a deal to save the country from bankruptcy by securing the European bailout package.