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Greek Edition
Thursday, June 21

Thank you for following Kathimerini English Edition's live blog for the Sunday, June 17, general elections in Greece.
For more updates on developments here, follow us on Twitter @ekathimerini.

You can read the profile of some of the country's new ministers here.

The most poignant message to come out of Greece’s latest ballot was that the xenophobic Golden Dawn party is here to stay. Despite numerous violent incidents involving party officials, the anti-immigrant party managed to again secure some 7 percent of the national vote, vindicating those experts who claim that the structural conditions are in place to guarantee that Golden Dawn won’t be just a flash in the pan. This would mean that even if the economic crisis were to disappear, the extremist threat would remain | Twilight of the idols

20.38 Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
lauds the agreement between three coalition parties, saying it is "rare thing," adding that the government's policy program will be published soon. He tells his ministers that their salaries will be cut by 30 percent and use of official cars will be limited. He also instructs them to restrict TV appearances and adds that he will visit each ministry to draw up a schedule of targets for each department. Addressing opposition parties, Samaras calls on them to cooperate with the new government rather than limiting themselves to "sterile" opposition. Samaras says this is last time TV cameras will be allowed inside the room during cabinet meetings, before continuing behind closed doors.

20.08 Greece's new government is sworn in and about to hold its first cabinet meeting.

19.39 The swearing ceremony for Greece's new government is underway. You can see who is in the new cabinet here.

19.33 The members of Greece's new government are at the Presidential Palace waiting to be sworn in.

18.33 European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has issued a statement following the naming of the new Greek government. Here it is in full: "I warmly welcome today's announcement of the formation of a new government in Greece. I am particularly reassured that the new administration will count on ample and broad-based parliamentary support. I believe that this sends a clear signal of Greece's determination to honour its commitments and stay in the euro. I look forward to working again with Prime Minister Samaras, whom I have known for many years and who I know is committed to the European project.&?nbsp;The Commission stands by Greece and its people. We will continue to work with the Greek authorities to bring Greece back to growth and job creation. In the coming days the troika will return to Athens to exchange views with the new government and to begin to assess what has been done and what still needs to be done in relation to the essential reforms set out in the second economic adjustment programme for Greece."

18.26
Eurozone finance ministers have been arriving for the Eurgroup in Luxembourg. They're being asked about Greece renegotiating its bailout. "I don't think it's a good idea," said Finland's Jutta Urpilainen, arriving at the meeting.

17.59 SYRIZA accuses the new government of being too right-wing and of following in the footsteps of the Lucas Papademos administration.

16.46 The prime minister's press office released an announcement saying that the main aims of the coalition government are to boost growth, to review the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding without jeopardizing Greece's position in the eurozone, to tackle the deficit, bring down public debt and implement structural reforms. The statement also said that the new government aims to be smaller and more flexible.

16.20 The new cabinet is announced:
Finance: Vassilis Rapanos; Administrative reform: Antonis Manitakis; Interior: Evripidis Stylianidis; Foreign: Dimitris Avramopoulos; Defense: Panos Panayiotopoulos; Development: Costis Hadzidakis; Environment: Evangelos Livieratos; Education: Constantinos Arvanitopoulos; Labor: Yiannis Vroutsis; Health: Andreas Lykourentzos; Agriculture: Thanasis Tsaftaris; Justice: Antonis Roupakiotis; Public Order: Nikos Dendias; Tourism: Olga Kefaloyianni; Costas Mousouroulis; Macedonia-Thrace: Theodoros Karaoglou; State Minister: Dimitris Stamatis.

15.38
The new cabinet will be sworn it at 7 p.m., according to reports, as the meeting between coalition leaders PM Antonis Samaras, Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis ends.

15.33 The Metropolitan Church of Thessaloniki speaks out against the northern port city holding its first Gay Pride march this weekend, calling on residents to protest the event.

14.55 Costis Mousouroulis looks like taking over the newly formed Merchant Marine Ministry, which is being separated from the Development Ministry. He is a New Democracy MP for the island of Hios.

14.33 Another New Democracy deputy, Simos Kedikoglou, is being lined up as government spokesman, according to reports.

14.19 ND MP for Cyclades, Yiannis Vroutsis, to be named as labor minister, according to NET TV.

13.50 The three parties in the new coalition government have agreed not to sack civil servants but to make the public sector savings required by international creditors through forced retirements instead, Democratic Left spokesman Andreas Papadopoulos tells state radio channel Net.

13.40 Other appointments coming through are: Costis Hatzidakis as Development Minister, Olga Kefaloyianni as Tourism Minister and Evripidis Stylianidis as Interior Minister. They are also New Democracy deputies.

13.37 NET TV reports that Dimitris Avramopoulos will be Foreign Minister, Panos Panayiotopoulos Defense Minister, Andreas Lykourentzos and Christos Staikouras Deputy Finance Minister. All are New Democracy MPs.

13.28 German Chancellor Angela Merkel sends a letter of congratulations to the new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, writing "you are taking over the government at a difficult time. We all have expectations of your government," according to Skai television. She adds that she is "looking forward to our cooperation which will strengthen the bonds between our nations."

13.06 Here's a brief biography of the new finance minister:

A graduate of the Athens University of Economics and Business, where he is still an associate professor, Vassilis Rapanos has been the chairman of the board of the National Bank of Greece and chairman of the Hellenic Bank Association since 2009. He received his doctorate from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in Canada in 1982. Rapanos has served as chairman of the board of directors of OTE telecoms (1998-2000), governor of the National Mortgage Bank of Greece (which merged with National Bank in 1998) and as a financial adviser to the Costas Simitis government in the 2000-2004 period. He has also acted as counselor to the Permanent Greek Delegation to the European Union, as deputy head of the Greek Delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and research associate with the Institute of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) from 2007 to 2009. He was born on the eastern Aegean island of Kos in 1947.

12.30 Kathimerini English Edition understands that the new cabinet will be sworn in after 4 p.m.

12.16 The State Department categorically refutes reports in certain Greek media attributing to it a statement expressing the desire for a good working relationship with conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras who was appointed Prime Minister yesterday, Skai reports. The only recent comment related to Greece from the State Department is by spokesperson Toria Nuland, describing the recent Greek elections as a positive development and encouraging Athens to cooperate with its European partners on the path to reform, Skai reports.

12.05 Presidential decrees being drawn up for the creation of two new separate ministries -- tourism and merchant marine -- while the final lineup of the cabinet is not expected to be announced until after the meeting scheduled for 1pm between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis. The final cabinet lineup might include some surprises, Skai reports.

11.50 Socialist Pasok MP Costas Kartali tells Skai television that the new government must create a 'safety net' for the growing number of Greeks on low-incomes struggling to pay bills and taxes and seek to offer extensions and other concessions to make their lives easier.

Veteran commentator Costas Iordanidis offers his take on the country's new political alliances and challenges.

Greece prepares for tomorrow's match against Euro 2012 favorite, Germany. Chancellor Merkel is expected to the attend the game.

10.07 The Attica Pharmacists' Association has decided to continue to refuse to provide medecines on credit to people insured with the EOPYY healthcare fund until its outstanding debts are settled.

10.00 Two new ministries will be created: Tourism and Merchant Marine. They had previously been incorporated into the Development Ministry.

09.56 There is plenty of speculation about who will take up the other posts in the cabinet. ND's Dimitris Avramopoulos is expected to reprise the role he had in the Papademos government by returning to the Defense Ministry. Former journalist and labor minister Panos Panayiotopoulos is being lined up as foreign minister. Former development minister Costis Hatzidakis is expected to return to the ministry with Yannis Stournaras, the current caretaker, as his deputy.

09.54 Carateker Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias will represent Greece at today's Eurogroup meeting and tomorrow's ECOFIN. Vassilis Rapanos could not be sworn in in time to attend. Rapanos is due to sworn in on Saturday, once Zanias has returned.

09.51 The only places in the cabinet that seem secure at this point are finance minister, where National Bank president Vassilis Rapanos is due to take over. The current caretaker finance minister, Giorgos Zanias, and New Democracy's Christos Staikouras are due to act as deputy ministers at the Finance Ministry.

09.50 The new cabinet is expected to consist of 16 ministers and 12 deputy ministers. The cabinet under interim premier Lucas Papademos had 49 people.

09.31 Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis at 1 p.m. to discuss the details of the policy framework that officials from the three parties have been working on since Monday.

09.30 Good morning. Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister yesterday. We expect his cabinet to be named during the next few hours.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday June 21, 2012 (21:40)  
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