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4:28pm UK, Wednesday June 20, 2012
The leader of Greece’s New Democracy party has been sworn in as prime minister – pledging to do “everything we can” to solve the country’s debt crisis that has threatened to plunge the eurozone into further turmoil.
Antonis Samaras has vowed to keep his country in the single currency but faces the daunting task of revising an unpopular EU-IMF bailout that has imposed harsh austerity on many Greeks.
The 61-year-old former foreign minister told reporters: “With God’s help we will do everything we can to take the country out of the crisis.”
Earlier the leader of the Pasok, the socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos announced that a new coalition government had been formed.
Pasok came third in Sunday’s election, which was won by New Democracy.
No party won enough votes to form a government on its own, leading to three days of coalition talks, also with the smaller party, the Democratic Left.
Mr Samaras met the Greek President Karolos Papoulias to tell him he had successfully formed a government.
Sky’s Robert Nisbet, in Athens, said Mr Samaras now has to form a cabinet that will stay together, when ideologically the parties are very different.
One thing that unites the parties is that they want to stay in the euro and they want the ‘troika’, the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Union, to back off a little on some of the things they are asking.
Greece has been asked to make cuts and savings of 11.7bn euros in 2012 but Nisbet says the new government is expected to ask for this to be extended to 2014.
Evangelos Venizelos (R) shakes hands with the leader of the Democratic Left party Fotis Kouvelis
The creation of the government is expected to calm fears that a protracted political crisis in debt-struck Greece could have led to the country being forced out of the joint European currency.
Such an event could have dragged down other financially troubled eurozone nations and hammered the global economy.
The runner-up in Sunday’s ballot, the anti-bailout radical left Syriza party, has refused to join any government that will implement the terms of Greece’s international bailout loans.