Power-sharing talks between Greece’s two main political parties entered the second day on Tuesday, as European leaders stepped up the pressure for a quick resolution by holding back a vital rescue loan that the country needs to prevent a devastating bankruptcy.
Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou and conservative party head Antonis Samaras have been wrangling over who will lead an interim government that aims to secure a new 130 billion ($179 billion) European rescue package, agreed less than two weeks ago.
The wrangling comes as Greece’s European partners press for a swift resolution.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the eurozone’s finance ministers, said Monday that the leaders of the two main parties must co-sign a letter reaffirming their commitment to Greece’s bailouts and economic reforms before the next batch of cash from the first bailout, worth 8 billion ($11 billion), is handed over to Athens.
Without the funds, Greece will default before Christmas, sending shockwaves through Europe’s banking system and potentially pushing the global economy back into recession.
Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Samaras reached a landmark agreement late Sunday for Papandreou to step down and the temporary government to be formed.
The two main candidates being considered as interim premier are former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos and European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros, officials with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. They asked not to be identified, citing the sensitivity of the talks.
None of the people being considered have been announced publicly.