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Vassiliki Thanou named Greece's new prime minister, the country's first woman to hold the position

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's president has appointed the head of the country's Supreme Court as prime minister to lead a caretaker government as the country heads to early elections next month.

President Prokopis Pavlopoulos named Vassiliki Thanou as Greece's new prime minister Thursday, making her the country's first woman to hold the position.

Thanou, 65, was to be sworn in Thursday evening, and will then appoint a Cabinet that will be sworn in Friday. Elections are expected Sept. 20.

Outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last week barely seven months after his election. His coalition government suffered a rebellion from within his left-wing Syriza party over his acceptance of the austerity terms tied to the country's new international bailout.

The 41-year-old prime minister has argued he was left with no choice but to accept European creditors' demands, in order to avoid Greece defaulting on its debts and being forced out of the euro currency the country shares with another 18 European nations.

Greece has relied on funds from two bailouts by other European countries and the International Monetary Fund totaling nearly 240 billion euros since 2010.

The second bailout expired earlier this year, and Tsipras insisted he could negotiate a better deal for his country. But the talks with creditors floundered and eventually collapsed in June, with Tsipras calling a referendum and urging Greeks to vote against creditor demands. They overwhelmingly did so, but the prime minister eventually signed up to even stricter demands in return for a third bailout worth 86 billion euros ($97 billion).

Despite his about-face on policies, Tsipras is expected to win the next election although it's unclear whether he will secure enough parliamentary seats to govern alone. He has ruled out a coalition with any of the centrist opposition parties: center-right New Democracy, the socialist PASOK party or the small centrist To Potami party.

Unless other smaller parties manage to enter Parliament, that would leave his current coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks.

It is unlikely he would form a government with Popular Unity, formed by Syriza dissenters, the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn, whose leader and lawmakers still face criminal charges, or the communist KKE party.

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