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Varoufakis will not participate in ‘sad’ Greek elections

Jean-Philippe Ksiazek, AFP | Former Greek FM Yanis Varoufakis speaks at a left-wing gathering in France on August 23, 2015

The popular former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Thursday he would not take part in snap elections in Greece expected next month as the country’s top Supreme Court judge was named the head of a caretaker government.

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Varoufakis, who has broken away from the left-wing Syriza party, said he would instead concentrate his efforts into creating a new movement to “restore democracy” across Europe.

“I'm not going to take part in these sad elections," Reuters quoted Varoufakis as saying in reference the parliamentary vote that will likely be held on September 20.

His announcement came as Vassiliki Thanou, 65, was appointed as Greece’s caretaker prime minister.

Thanou, an anti-austerity advocate who has argued against wage cuts for judges and court officials, will be sworn in as the country's first female prime minister at 8 pm local time.

Not joining Syriza rebels

Varoufakis, the combative, motorbike-riding ex-finance minister was forced out of government in July after alienating euro zone counterparts and threatening to derail Greek efforts to secure a new bailout from partners.

He has since steadily attacked the bailout programme signed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that secured yet another massive loan for the country in exchange for further austerity measures.

The rock star minister has also emerged as a new standard bearer for radical-left movements across Europe that were left deeply disappointed by Tsipras’s perceived capitulation to creditors.

Tsipras's Syriza party, which hopes to return to power with a strengthened mandate, said it will not allow Varoufakis and others who voted against the bailout to run for parliament under the Syriza ticket anyway.

The 54-year-old Varoufakis has already dismissed speculation that he would join the far-left Popular Unity party that broke away from Syriza last week, telling ABC that he had "great sympathy" but fundamental differences with them and considered their stance "isolationist".

Instead, he told Reuters he wanted to set up a European network aimed at restoring democracy that could eventually become a party.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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