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Date: 22 Jun 2012
Title: New Greek coalition government sworn in
Athens - The new Greek pro-bailout coalition government, which was sworn in on Thursday evening, says it will aim to revise the tough terms of international bailout deals keeping the debt-laden country afloat since 2010 without endangering its place in the Euro.
The 39-member cabinet team, headed by conservative New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, is the result of a power-sharing agreement among three parties reached after Sunday's parliamentary elections.
Jointly with the socialist PASOK party and Democratic Left junior partners that did not appoint party officials of their own for ministry portfolios but technocrats, the ND-led coalition government is supported by a wide parliamentary majority in the 300-member legislature.
"This is a government of unity and we mean it," Prime Minister Samaras stressed in statements to the press outside the presidential mansion in Athens before chairing the first cabinet meeting in parliament.
In his first decision as prime minister, he announced that the salaries of all ministers serving in the new government would be reduced by 30%.
Banker Vassilis Rapanos, chairman of the country's largest bank, the National Bank of Greece and head of the Greek Bank Association, was appointed to the key post of Finance Minister.
He is due to be sworn in later this week once caretaker Finance Minister Yorgos Zannias returns to Athens after his participation in the meetings of Euro Group and Ecofin.
The formation of the coalition government puts an end to six weeks of political impasse after the first inconclusive May elections that resulted in a fragmented parliament, reflecting the division amongst Greek citizens over the implementation of the plan to exit the debt crisis under the bailout deals with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Frustration with harsh austerity skyrocketed the anti-bailout Radical Left Syriza Coalition that won second place in both critical polls, promising the abolition of the memorandum, despite warnings that lenders could pull the plug on Greece, letting it financially collapse and exit the Eurozone.
Despite the initial relief for the outcome, local analysts warn that the new government will soon face tough times if it does not secure some easier bailout terms.
Syriza and other anti-bailout parties that labelled the new cabinet on Thursday as "too conservative", have underlined that they will support the people's future struggle against any unpopular austerity measures. - BuaNews-Xinhua