Repeat Greek Elections Are Due On June 17
New Greek elections will be held on June 17 and a top judicial official will head the interim government until the new vote, it has been announced.
Council of State head Panagiotis Pikramenos will be appointed interim prime minister, according to state television.
Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga said party leaders had agreed that the interim government will not be able to make any internationally binding decisions.
A nine-day deadlock in coalition negotiations after inconclusive elections, which have sparked chaos in the eurozone, have forced Greece back to the ballot box.
Polls suggest new elections in the cash-strapped country could further strengthen the radical left, the anti-austerity Syriza party, which could put Greece on a collision course with its European partners.
Greeks returned a hung parliament on May 6, giving no group more than 19% of the votes and triggering the worst political crisis in decades.
With the country set for a fresh round of voting, Syriza may become the first and biggest party with an estimated 20-25%, along with an equally fragmented political landscape.
A day after attempts to form a coalition collapsed in acrimony, Greece's squabbling political leaders met again and finally agreed a way forward.
The new polls will take place June 17, just weeks before the nation's cash-flows run dry.
The plan follows nine-days of high drama, laced with delays, mystery leaks and political posturing that spoiled a rash of attempts to form a unity government.
It came after the political landscape that emerged was so fragmented that the top three finishers of the race - conservative New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras, radical-left Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras and Evangelos Venizelos, the socialist supremo of Pasok - were unable to unite.
As the Greek president Karolos Papoulias stepped in, a last-ditch proposal was floated earlier this week calling for the formation of an Italian-style government of technocrats that would help stave off fresh elections and safeguard the inflow of multi-billion euro bailout funds keeping Greece afloat.
But the idea drew mixed reactions, most notably from Syriza's young leader who refused to take part in any government that would not heed his party's promise to tear up Greece's austerity and bailout agreements with foreign lenders.
"We shouldn't be heading down this road," a visibly angered Mr Venizelos told reporters after the breakdown of the talks. "We were forced to. But for the love of God, let it not prove the worst one."
The failure to find agreement on the choice of prime minister has forced the Greek president to assign the top government job to a senior member of the Greek judiciary.
Parliament will open on Thursday only to dissolve days later when elections will formally be announced by the service prime minister, officials said.
The earliest election date identified was June 10 but because of nationwide university entrance exams keeping schools, traditionally used as voting centres, occupied, election planners recommended they be pushed back to June 17.
The stakes are high.
From European central bankers to skittish market investors and the International Monetary Funds, scores of officials have warned in recent days that Greece's failure to stick by its fiscal adjustment programme would leave it without international aid.
This would push it to a disorderly default with untold consequences for global markets.
Earlier this week and in a sample of the pressure that Athens could increasingly face, European creditors withheld part of scheduled loan payment for fear of the lingering political uncertainty.
"It should have been an easy exercise," Yannis Loulis, a leading political analyst told Skai Radio in Athens.
"But in the end petty political interests trumped over nationals one. It's the worst sign of an ailing political system."