Conservative leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as the prime minister of a new Greek coalition, as he took up the challenge of trying to revise the terms of an unpopular EU-IMF bailout deal.
“I wish you good luck because the problems you have ahead of you are many and difficult,” President Carolos Papoulias said before swearing in Samaras on Wednesday at a ceremony in the presidential palace following three days of coalition talks.
Samaras vowed an all-out effort to drag Greece out of its crisis.
“With God’s help we will do everything we can to take the country out of the crisis,” he told reporters moments after being sworn in.
Samaras and his New Democracy party, the winners of an election on Sunday, are the senior partners in a coalition with the socialist Pasok party.
The government will also have the parliamentary support of the small Democratic Left party.
“I have the majority to form a long-term government of stability and hope,” said Samaras, a US-educated former foreign minister.
Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said the new government would begin the battle to get the bailout deal rewritten at an EU summit next week.
“In those two days in Brussels we will carry out a major battle for revision of the loan and negotiate a framework that will boost the recovery and the fight against unemployment,” Venizelos said.
New Democracy won a narrow victory on Sunday against the radical leftist anti-austerity Syriza party, which has refused to support the coalition and is bitterly opposed to the terms of the bailout.
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said he expected the cabinet to “release the country from the painful terms” of the multibillion bailout.
National Bank of Greece chairman Vassilis Rapanos, a former professor of economics who served in the government when Greece joined the euro in 2001, is widely tipped to be the new finance minister, Greek media reported.
After two months of political deadlock, the struggling eurozone member is under intense international pressure to get back on track with reforms promised for a bailout that has kept the economy on life support for the past two years.