Greek Cabinet inaugurated after reshuffle | News | DW | 25.06.2013
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Greek Cabinet inaugurated after reshuffle

Greece has sworn in conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samara's reshuffled Cabinet. The minority Socialists now have a strengthened hand in the coalition government.

After the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Prime Minister Samaras told his ministers that government stability was critical for Greece, as the country's international creditors prepare to review its austerity policies next week.

Samaras reshuffled the Cabinet late Monday, after the Democratic Left party had resigned from the coalition over the closure of state broadcaster ERT. The Greek premier had fired all 2,565 of ERT's employees, claiming that the broadcaster was inefficient. Athens has promised to cut 15,000 public sector jobs to meet the austerity conditions of its international bailout.

Samaras' coalition, reduced to his conservative New Democracy party and the socialist PASOK party, now has 153 seats in 300-member parliament. That gives the government a razor-thin majority of just three seats.

"Stability means better coordination between the parties that support the government," Samaras said. "Greece has no time to lose."

New ministers named

The leader of the socialist PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, has assumed the position of both deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Venizelos was finance minister when Greece was negotiating the terms of its bailout in 2011.

"We have decided to move forward together, with stability... until the end of this government's term," said Venizelos, echoing the statements of Prime Minister Samaras.

The ministers of justice, administration, defense and transport were also reshuffled. But the key post of finance minister remains unchanged, with the Yannis Stournaras still at the helm.

Unauthorized broadcasts continue

State broadcaster ERT, meanwhile, has continued to make broadcasts via Internet live stream. Greece's top administrative court blocked the closure of ERT last week, saying that the broadcaster should be restructured, but could not be taken off the air.

Protesters have urged the new Cabinet to reform the broadcaster instead of taking it off the air.

"If the government wants to restructure ERT we agree," said Panagiotis Kalfagiannis, leader of the broadcast workers' union Pospert.

"We want restructuring," he said. "Not a padlocked ERT."

slk/ipj (AP, AFP, dpa)