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Senior govt official: new Greek premier expected to be announced some time Tuesday
ATHENS, Greece (AP) ' Greece's new interim prime minister will be named made some time Tuesday, a senior government official said, as European pressure increased on the country's party leaders to resolve a severe political crisis.
Talks between current Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras have dragged into a second day as they try to hammer out a power-sharing deal. The two agreed over the weekend to create an interim government that will shepherd the country's new European debt deal through parliament.
The senior government official said Papandreou gave no indication of whether the announcement "will be in the evening or tonight." The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of a Cabinet meeting.
A second senior government official said Greece's eurozone partners are demanding that five top Greek officials co-sign a letter reaffirming their commitment to the country's bailouts deals and economic reforms, in return for release of a vital euro8 billion ($11 billion) loan installment later this month.
He said those officials are Papandreou and Samaras, the Bank of Greece governor, the new prime minister and the new finance minister.
Earlier, the country's government ministers offered their resignations to Papandreou to pave the way for the creation of the interim government.
"We have made our resignation available to the prime minister in order to help him with his actions," Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis said. "My feeling is that tonight we will have a name (of the new premier). It's going well."
Deputy education minister Evi Christophilopoulou echoed the sentiment, saying "we are very close to forming a coalition government. This is very important for the stability of the country."
The political crisis erupted last week, when Papandreou said he would put the new euro130 billion ($179 billion) European rescue package to a referendum. He withdrew the plan after Samaras indicated he would back the new deal, agreed on in Brussels after a marathon summit less than two weeks ago.