New Greek Prime Minister accepts his position | News | DW | 20.06.2012
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New Greek Prime Minister accepts his position

Greece's president and religious leaders have sworn in the country's new prime minister. The leader of the conservative party, Antonis Samaras, will lead a coalition government in the troubled country.

The leader of the New Democracy party in Greece was sworn in as prime minister at the presidential palace in Athens on Wednesday. Antonis Samaras spoke briefly to President Karolos Papoulias and Orthodox priests before signing a document confirming that he would lead parliament in Athens.

"With God's help we will do everything we can to take the country out of the crisis," Samaras told reporters shortly after the ceremony.

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New coalition government in Greece

The center-right New Democracy party will rule in coalition with the Socialist PASOK group and the smaller Democratic Left party.

The coalition will exclude the second-placed party from last Sunday's election, the far-left SYRIZA group - which has shot to prominence as a result of the economic chaos in Greece.

Samaras, a 61-year-old former foreign minister, campaigned on a platform of keeping Greece in the European single currency, the euro. The new prime minister had said, however, that he would seek to renegotiate the terms of the international loan packages - often called bailouts - granted to Greece by its European partners and the International Monetary Fund.

The biting austerity measures tied to the emergency loans are unpopular with the Greek electorate. Pay cuts, tax increases and reductions in public services are among the pre-conditions for the tranches of international assistance. Greece is in its fifth consecutive year of recession.

Samaras was sworn in as prime minister just hours after it was announced that he had managed to form a viable coalition government. It's not yet clear what shape that coalition will take. Greece's elections this past Sunday took place after the country's leading politicians failed to set up a viable coalition when the country voted in May.

msh/sej (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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