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Greek Crisis: Prime Minister George Papandreou And Opposition Leader Agree On Unity Government

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PAPANDREOU
PA

Greek political leaders have reached an initial agreement to form a government of national unity in order to implement a critical debt bailout deal.

Prime Minister George Papandreou of the socialist Pasok party will stand down when the deal is finalised.

Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party met President Karolos Papoulias on Sunday evening after a weekend of talks.

In a presidential statement Papoulias said that the parties had agreed to form an interim coalition. It is expected that the government will be in place until elections to be held after the bailout deal is implemented.

The prime minister and opposition leader will meet on Monday to discuss who will lead the new government.

Once the new leader is decided the president will invite all parties to join the unity government.

Papandreou will not lead the new government, the presidential statement said. Among the candidates being considered for the presidency were Loukas Papademos, the former vice-president of the European Central Bank, and Petros Molyviatos, a former minister.

The prime minister had been under immense pressure to put together a government of national unity and find a solution to the country's sovereign debt crisis.

On Friday, Papandreou survived a vote of no-confidence, seemingly opening the way for the eurozone bailout package to pass through parliament.

However, on Saturday Samaras, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, said that they would not take part in a coalition and called for an immediate election.

Papandreou held talks with his cabinet and Pasok MPs on Sunday, amid reports that he was prepared to resign if a new government could be formed.