Greek caretaker Prime Minister sworn in, to head government until new national elections

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Senior judge Ioannis Sarmas was sworn in Thursday as Greece’s caretaker Prime Minister who will head the country until new national elections are held in about a month.

Sarmas, 66, took over from center-right Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on May 21 but was unable to form a government. Although his New Democracy party beat the leftwing main opposition Syriza by 20 points — the biggest margin in 50 years — the one-off electoral system left it five seats short of a majority in the 300-seat Parliament.

Syriza and the third-placed Pasok Socialists also proved unable to form a coalition. Therefore new elections will be held, with June 25 seen as the likeliest date, under a different electoral system which gives the first party up to 50 extra seats in Parliament. Mitsotakis hopes that vote will secure him a governing majority.

Sarmas will head a 16-member caretaker government, in which a former Greek ambassador to the U.S., Vassilios Kaskarelis, will be Foreign Minister. The key finance ministry will be headed by economist Theodore Pelagidis, deputy governor of Greece’s central bank.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.