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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: « La Grèce a un nouveau gouvernement ! »

by Charlotte Helias

“Greece Has a New Government!”

Translated Friday 22 June 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The pro-austerity right obtained the most votes in the legislative elections, but not a majority. Its leader, Antonis Samaras, was inaugurated as the new Greek prime minister. He has formed a coalition with the socialists and the moderate left. The composition of the new government is to be announced in the evening on June 20.

The composition of the new Greek government has not yet been revealed, but the likelihood of again seeing the formation of a coalition fail seems to have been eliminated. Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos announced at mid-day that an agreement had been reached among the right, elected on June 17, the socialists and the moderate left. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative right, was sworn in before the head of state, Karolos Papoulias, in the early afternoon. Following an interview, he was officially inaugurated as head of the government.

He immediately announced that he would do “everything to get the country out of the crisis.” “With the help of god, we’re going to do everything to get the country out of the crisis. Tomorrow, I’m going to ask the government to work hard to give a tangible hope to the Greek people,” the new prime minister announced from the steps of the presidential palace.

“Great battle” on the loan grant.

Evangelos Venizelos declared in the morning that the coalition was preparing to conduct “a great battle” at the next European summit on June 28-29. The objective is to ease the austerity to which Greece has been subjected and to “work out a framework that makes it possible to ensure a relaunch of the economy and to fight against unemployment, the country’s big problem.” “We’ll send this message tomorrow (June 21) to the euro group, » the socialist leader added. The first meeting with the country’s creditors and partners is to be held on June 21 in order to discuss the course of events.

Greece will be represented on June 21 at the euro group by George Zannias, the acting minister of finance.

On the afternoon of June 20, the Net public television network announced the probable nomination of Vassilis Rapanos, the president of the Greek National Bank, as minister of finance.

Among other responsibilities, he directed the Council of Experts of the ministry of the economy and finance when Greece entered the euro zone in 2001.

“A weakened coalition?”

According to initial reports, the coalition will bring together the winning party, New Democracy, which obtained 29.7% of the vote, the socialists of PASOK, with 12.3%, and the Democratic Left party, DIMAR, which won 6%.

These three parties have 179 of the 300 seats in the Vouli, the single-chamber Hellenic Parliament. Nikos Konstandaras, the director of the conservative daily paper Kathimerini, predicted “a very weakened coalition” due to the numerous clashes that have characterized the relationship between the two main parties for decades.

The radical left party Syriza, which came in second in the legislative elections, refused to participate in the coalition, arguing that PASOK and ND “are the parties which negotiated and signed the memorandum.”

The leader of the New Democracy party, and winner of the elections, Antonis Samaras, had three days to form a government. Had the deadline not been met, the country ran the risk of renewed political uncertainty, as was the case following the May 6 legislative elections.

The exact sharing-out of the posts in the new government was to be revealed on the evening of June 20.

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