Greece Appoints 1st Female Prime Minister Ahead of Snap Poll

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -

Greece’s first female prime minister, a top judge, was sworn in Thursday to head a caretaker government ahead of early elections next month in the bailout-dependent country.

Supreme Court head Vassiliki Thanou, 65, was appointed after radical left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned, seeking a stronger mandate to implement tough austerity measures demanded by Greece’s creditors in return for a third bailout worth 86 billion euro ($97 billion).

Her main task will be to hold the reins until a new government emerges from the vote expected on Sept. 20.

“But, given the circumstances … I believe that this government will also have to handle crucial matters,” Thanou said in her first public comments in office, singling out for mention Greece’s immigration crisis.

Since January, the financially struggling country has received more than 160,000 mainly Syrian refugees and economic migrants — a record number — who arrive in boats from Turkey before heading to wealthier European countries.

Tsipras was forced to step down last week, barely seven months into his four-year term, following a rebellion in his radical left Syriza party over his agreement to the new income cuts and tax hikes.

Thanou will appoint a Cabinet that will be sworn in on Friday, when the election date will be formally confirmed.