ATHENS - A senior judge was sworn in to head a caretaker government for a month as debt-riddled Greece lurches through a political crisis that threatens its membership in the 17-nation eurozone.
The political uncertainty is worrying Greece's international creditors as well as Greeks themselves, who have withdrawn hundreds of millions of euros from banks since the inconclusive May 6 election.
The judge, Panagiotis Pikramenos, 67, was appointed Wednesday to lead a government that will lack the mandate to make any binding commitments until a new election, expected June 17. His Cabinet will be sworn in Thursday.
The equivalent of at least $898 million in deposits has left Greek banks since the day after the May election, President Karolos Papoulias told party leaders after being briefed by central bank governor George Provopoulos. "The situation in the banks is very difficult," Papoulias said according to a transcript of the meeting's minutes. "Mr. Provopoulos told me that of course there is no panic, but there is great fear which could turn into panic."
Theodore Krintas, managing director of Attica Wealth Management, said he "would expect the population to quietly be doing what it has been doing in the last days."
"In other words, some of the Greek citizens are afraid and are taking a portion of the money, but I'm not expecting a bank run," Krintas said.
The May 6 election saw a massive rise in popularity for parties that advocate pulling out of Greece's commitments to an international bailout deal, under which it agreed to strict austerity measures.