Greece′s new finance minister resigns due to ill-health | News | DW | 25.06.2012
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Greece's new finance minister resigns due to ill-health

Greece's designated finance minister, Vasilios Rapanos, has resigned less than a week after his appointment. The chairman of the National Bank of Greece cited health problems after collapsing on Friday.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras confirmed on Monday that Greece's new finance minister had formally stepped down. "The resignation was accepted," the premier's office said.

Vasilios Rapanos was rushed to hospital last week, complaining of abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness.

"I have concluded that my health would not at the moment allow me to carry out my duties fully," the 65-year-old Rapanos said in a written statement on Monday.

It remains unclear who will replace the National Bank of Greece chief, who was due to be sworn in to his new post on Friday evening. The Finance Ministry will now be temporarily led by the former interim minister, Giorgos Zanias, a key negotiator for Greece's international bailout.

Rapanos' resignation is the latest in a series of setbacks for Greece's newly appointed government, which was elected following a second landmark vote on June 17.

Greece's prime minister was also admitted to hospital on Friday and has only just been released after undergoing major eye surgery.

Troubled beginning

Ill-heath had forced both ministers to say they were unable to attend a crucial EU summit in Brussels this week. Greece has been under pressure to use the June 28-29 meeting to push for an easing of the strict terms of its 130-billion-euro ($162 billion) bailout deal.

Their health problems have delayed a formal vote of confidence for the new three-party coalition. A visit by Greece's "troika" of international lenders was also postponed indefinitely. The visit by EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank auditors had been scheduled to begin on Monday.

Germany, which has already rejected any major concessions to Greece's bailout terms, signaled on Monday that Europe would wait for the troika's report before considering adjustments to the bailout package.

ccp/pfd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)