Greece has new govt headed by Antonis Samaras

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By Manju Shukla
Date  21 June 2012
Greece's new prime minister Antonis Samaras is a hawkish former foreign minister who has vowed to revise a "torturous" EU-IMF bailout deal and rid the country of undocumented migrants.
The 61-year-old conservative leader of the New Democracy party, which won a narrow victory in elections Sunday against the anti-austerity Syriza party, was once one of the youngest politicians elected to the Greek parliament.
During his campaign he promised to do everything to keep Greece in the euro but also argued for an easing of the terms of an EU-IMF bailout -- a promise that could put him on a path to confrontation with foreign creditors.
Vassilis Rapanos, tapped as finance minister in Greece's new government, is an experienced economist close to the socialist Pasok party and who has led the country's top private bank.
The 65-year-old Rapanos, a former professor of economics at the University of Athens, has served as been non-executive chairman at Greece's largest private bank National Bank of Greece (NBG) since December 2009.
He was chairman of the council of economic advisors at the economy and finance ministry between 2000 and 2004 -- when Greece joined the euro in 2001.
Rapanos previously served as chairman of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) between 1998 and 2000 at a time when it was the country's biggest state enterprise.
The new foreign minister will be New Democracy's Dimitris Avramopoulos, a former diplomat and ex-Athens mayor who was previously defence minister.
The new interior minister is Evripidis Stilianidis.
Most of the ministers are members of the conservative New Democracy party. The government enjoys the support of the socialistic PASOK and Democratic Left.
A joint statement by the conservative, socialist and moderate leftist parties in the coalition said the aim was "to revise terms of the loan agreement without endangering the country's European course and its place in the euro."
The new team also pledged to honour Greece's targets on deficit reduction, debt control and structural reforms following landmark elections on Sunday.
"The goal is to create the conditions to take the country out of the crisis for good and out of dependence on loan agreements in the future," it said.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the new line-up saying he was "reassured" by the government's parliamentary support.
"I believe that this sends a clear signal of Greece's determination to honour its commitments and stay in the euro," he said.

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