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Caretaker Greek Cabinet sworn in, legislators take their seats for a day

Newly appointed caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos attends the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, 67, was appointed earlier Wednesday to head a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until new elections, which are expected June 17. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's caretaker Cabinet was sworn in Thursday and will lead the country into next month's election, after a deadlocked vote sparked more political turmoil and brought the country's use of the euro currency into question.

The 16-member Cabinet was sworn in during a ceremony in the presidential mansion in Athens, followed by the swearing in of Parliament's 300 legislators, who will take their seats for just one day before the body is dissolved for the new vote.

The parliamentarians were elected in the May 6 vote, which left no party with enough votes to form a government. Coalition talks collapsed after nine days.

Among the legislators who took their seats for the day were 21 from the extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party, which vehemently rejects the neo-Nazi label. The party campaigned on pledges to rid Greece of immigrants and clean up crime-ridden neighbourhoods. It also advocates planting landmines along Greece's border with Turkey to stop more immigrants entering the country.

The party won nearly 7 per cent of the vote on May 6, a massive increase from the 0.31 per cent it had won in the 2009 parliamentary election.

The Cabinet sworn in Thursday is led by Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, a 67-year-old judge appointed Wednesday as Greece's interim prime minister.

Giorgos Zanias, a top negotiator in the nation's huge debt write down deal concluded earlier this year, has been appointed caretaker finance minister. Zanias is a senior Finance Ministry official and an Athens University professor of economics.

Veteran diplomat Petros Molyviatis was named foreign minister, a post he also held in 2004-06.

The caretaker government will not be able to take any internationally binding decisions, and its sole aim is to lead the country into the new elections, which are expected June 17. Parliament is to be dissolved Friday, and the election date officially set.


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