Samaras sworn in as Greece PM

Samaras sworn in as Greece PM

Greek conservative party head Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister

Greek conservative party head Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister Wednesday at the helm of a three-party coalition that will uphold the country’s international bailout commitments.

The move ends a protracted political crisis that had cast grave doubt over the country’s future in Europe’s joint currency and threatened to plunge the continent deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.

But the new government still has massive challenges ahead: It must deliver on pledges by its predecessors to generate huge new savings,privatise publicly-owned companies and real estate,cut about 1,50,000 civil service jobs in coming years and open restricted professions to competition.

Samaras,a US-educated 61-year-old economist,was sworn in three days after his New Democracy party won the second national elections in six weeks but without enough votes to form a government on its own. He is Greece’s fourth prime minister in eight months.


The conservatives will join forces with the socialist PASOK party,which came in third place,and the smaller Democratic Left led by Fotis Kouvelis. Discussions on the lineup of ministers were expected to be completed by Wednesday night.

“I will ask the new government that will be formed tomorrow to work hard so that we can offer tangible hope to our people,’’ Samaras told reporters as he left the presidential mansion.

The new prime minister was to meet with outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias,PASOK head Evangelos Venizelos and Kouvelis on Wednesday evening.

All three parties broadly back Greece’s pledges to bailout creditors for further austerity and reforms,although they have pledged to renegotiate some of the terms for the rescue loans.