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New Greek cabinet sworn in after election setback

After Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reshuffled his cabinet to regain public support, all eyes were on the outgoing finance minister. He is rumored to be a top candidate for the governorship of the Bank of Greece.

Greece's new government was sworn in on Tuesday following a massive reshuffling the day before that saw Prime Minister Antonis Samaras dismiss seven ministers.

The new cabinet was scheduled to hold its first meeting following the mid-afternoon swearing-in ceremony with President Karolos Papoulias at the presidential palace in central Athens.

Most notable was the departure of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who oversaw Athens' bailout negotiations with international lenders after the country's near-default several years ago.

The decision to replace Stournaras with the well-connected finance and economics professor Gikas Hardouvelis was widely seen as a signal that Greece intends to stay on its path of austerity and reform while focusing more on growth. The country is battling one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

"Greece is suffering," Hardouvelis said in a television interview. "Every household has at least one unemployed person or someone who is working and is not being paid."

Hardouvelis is a chief economist at Eurobank and served as an adviser under two previous Greek governments. Experts note that he enjoys support among conservatives and socialists alike.

Samaras reshuffled his cabinet following a disappointing showing in European parliamentary elections last month. He also replaced the ministers of the interior, public order, education, culture, health and agriculture.

cjc/sgb (AP, dpa)

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