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Greek PM Lucas Papademos sails through key vote


Greece's new coalition government has won a confidence vote in parliament with a comfortable majority.

The success backs a pledge by prime minister Lucas Papademos to speed up long-term reforms and secure a massive new bailout deal involving banks and rescue creditors.

MPs voted in favour of the new government formed last week by the majority Socialists, rival conservatives and a small right-wing nationalist party.

Mr Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, is also to meet in Athens with the head of a global banking organisation that is negotiating Greece's voluntary debt reduction.

Mr Papademos won support from the vast majority of MPs in both main parties and the right-wing party, as well as from independents. All left-wing and communist party MPs voted against.

Speaking just before the vote, Mr Papademos called for unity in order to ensure Greece remains within the eurozone, and stressed that his brief government's task is "disproportionately large" compared to the time it would be in power. Elections have been tentatively set for February 19.

"There are no magic solutions," he said.

"I thank all of those deputies who supported the government and gave it a vote of confidence. I believe each of those votes represents a responsible decision to avoid placing our country's membership of the eurozone in danger," the prime minister said.