Greek Prime Minister Samaras buys time | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 26.06.2013
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Greek Prime Minister Samaras buys time

Greece has sworn in a new government after the previous administration lasted just one year. Antonis Samaras remains prime minister of a cabinet critics say is filled with the people who put Greece in its troubled state.

The Socialist PASOK only had deputy ministers in the three-party coalition that has been replaced. Now, Evangelos Venizelos, head of the Socialist party, is set to become deputy prime minister.

Michalis Chryssochoidis, who managed to disband the terror group "17 November, or 17N" in 2002, will take over the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry. Party Spokesperson Fofi Gennimata will serve as deputy defense minister.

Journalist Pantelis Kapsis, known for his tough stance on restructuring, is the country's first deputy minister for state broadcasting and will be tasked with reshuffling ERT broadcaster.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is head of the conservative party, took a stance to show where his loyalties are: the leading figures in his party are keeping their jobs, and he has also appointed some staunch conservatives to be part of the government.

Dimitris Stamatis who, until now, has been the seasoned conservative voice behind the scenes, is one of them. Right-wing conservative Adonis Georgiadis is the new health minister.

Members of the newly appointed Greek government are sworn-in during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens June 25, 2013. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reshuffled his cabinet on Monday, aiming to bolster his government days after the smallest party in the ruling coalition quit over the closure of state TV, leaving him with a tiny majority in parliament. REUTERS/John Kolesidis (GREECE - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

The new government was sworn in on Tuesday

Following the row over the closure of state broadcaster ERT, the three-way coalition had collapsed after just a year. And the new government is just an emergency measure, according to Athens-based political scientist Levteris Kousoulis.

He said he believes while the new coalition won't work miracles, it will be able to tackle Greece's problems and will get the country moving forward. Kousoulis said the government's priority is to buy time to finally kick-start the stalling economy.

Prospects for young people grim

Giorgos Tzogopoulos from the Athens think tank ELIAMEP disagreed, arguing that "most of the members of the new government had been in leading positions before and did not exactly cover themselves with glory."

He added that it is a shame that neither conservatives nor socialists are prepared to give young people a chance.

There has been criticism in the media too, with many commentators complaining that the very people who were responsible for Greece's current predicament, are now tasked with its restructuring.

The opposition is using that sentiment to its advantage. The left-wing alliance SYRIZA is the strongest opposition party in parliament at the moment and its members are convinced that the "recycling" of politicians spells the beginning of the end of the new government.

The right-wing Golden Dawn party, which polls put as the third-strongest political force in the country, has said the new government would crumble under the weight of Venizelos, hinting sarcastically at the deputy prime minister's large build.

Protesters hold a banner in front of the parliament in Athens June 14, 2013. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras moved to defuse a political crisis over the government's abrupt closure of state broadcaster ERT that prompted a nationwide strike on Thursday and brought thousands into the streets in protest. REUTERS/Phasma/Giorgos Nikolaidis (GREECE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT MEDIA) GREECE OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN GREECE

State broadcaster ERT was completely shut down to save money

Tzogopolous does not see the humor. He said the new coalition gives the extremist parties the perfect platform from which to launch their attacks and present themselves as the alternative party capable of systemic change.

Venizelos' about-face

This time last year, Venizelos was vehemently opposed to taking on a leading role in the government. He was happy for Samaras to take center-stage in the three-way coalition.

In the Greek media, this was seen as a clever tactic to let Samaras take the blame for the stringent cuts the coalition had to implement. But it did not work. Polls still put Samaras' conservative party still neck-and-neck with the left-wing opposition, whereas Venizelos' PASOK, which used to enjoy broad support, has lost even more ground - a mere 10 percent of voters now favor the party.

That would mean a change of tactics for Venizelos, Kousoulis said. If the Socialists had refused to be part of the new government, there would have had to be snap elections. Now, the Socialists have no choice but to step up to the plate. "They could win back voters if things go in the right direction," Kousoulis said.

There are at least signs of continuity in the government. Finance Minister Jannis Stournas and his two deputies, who are taking care of the tax reforms overseen by Greece's international donors, stay in office.

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