New Democracy Chief Samaras Sworn In as PM of Greece

World | June 20, 2012, Wednesday // 17:22
Bulgaria: New Democracy Chief Samaras Sworn In as PM of Greece New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras was sworn in as the new Greek Prime Minister, 20 June 2012 EPA/BGNES

The head of Greece's conservative party, Antonis Samaras, has been sworn in as Prime Minister to head a three-party coalition that has committed to upholding the country's international bailout agreements.

Samaras, 61, was sworn in Wednesday, three days after his party came first in the second national elections in six weeks but failed to win enough votes to form a government on its own.

His New Democracy party will join forces with the socialist PASOK party, which came in third place, and the smaller Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis, international media report.

Evangelos Venizelos, a former finance minister and head of the socialist PASOK party, said details of the three-party coalition government were still being worked out and were expected to be finalized by the end of the day.

The development is expected to calm fears that a protracted political crisis in debt-struck Greece could have led to the country being forced out of the joint European currency.

PASOK came third in Sunday's election, which was won by the conservative New Democracy party. No party won enough votes to form a government on its own, leading to three days of coalition talks.

The runner-up in Sunday's ballot, the anti-bailout radical left Syriza party, has refused to join any government that will implement the terms of Greece's international bailout loans.

Greece will be represented at the upcoming meeting of Eurozone finance ministers by outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias, Venizelos said.

The meeting "will be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement the creation of a framework that will allow us to move to positive growth and to combat unemployment which is the big problem of Greek society," Venizelos said.

Although both Venizelos and New Democracy head Antonis Samaras broadly support the country's bailout loans from other European Union countries and the International Monetary Fund, they have pledged to try renegotiating some of the harsh austerity terms taken in return.

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Tags: Antonis Samaras, New Democracy, greece, Greek Prime Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, bailout, bailout loan, Fotis Kouvelis, PASOK, Democratic Left, Greeks
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