Antonis Samaras sworn in as head of three-party coalition government

 

Athens

Greece got its first elected prime minister for eight months yesterday as the conservative leader Antonis Samaras was sworn in at the head of a coalition government.

The three-party deal ended six weeks of rudderless chaos in Athens that has threatened to push the country out of the single currency and deepen Europe's financial crisis.

Mr Samaras's New Democracy party, which won nearly 30 per cent of the vote last Sunday, will be joined by the socialists of Pasok and the Democratic Left, a smaller, newer party whose presence is thought vital to broadening the government's support.

The 61-year-old, whose insistence on elections in May left the country in political limbo, vowed to "work hard so that we can offer tangible hope to our people".

The line-up of the new cabinet was being agreed last night but the extended coalition talks mean that Greece will be represented by George Zanias, the Finance Minister of the previous government, at a vital meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg today.

The Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said the talks will be "the first big battle" on the revision of the bailout agreement. The new government will be seeking concessions from its northern European creditors as it looks to shore up its support ahead of a fresh round of austerity measures.

Sunday's narrow vote in favour of parties that believe the country should honour the agreements under which it has received billions of pounds of emergency loans, came after concerted international pressure. The opponents of the austerity programme, like the radical left coalition Syriza, have vowed to fight the new administration inside and outside parliament. Greece's escalating economic crisis has seen unemployment reach 22 per cent while the economy is projected to contract by 7 per cent this year.

Despite its 29-seat majority, the new government is not expected to last a full term. Dominated by the two traditional ruling parties, its main claim to a broad mandate comes from the presence of the Democratic Left, which remains ambivalent about adhering to the terms of Greece's €173bn (£140bn) bailout. The party's leader Fotis Kouvelis has vowed to gradually withdraw from the worst parts of Greece's debt deal and called yesterday for the lifting of "those measures that have literally bled society".

Sources close to the Greek government said that it will be seeking more time to meet its bailout targets, development assistance and a faster release of funds from its creditors.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine