New cabinet sworn-in [UPDATE]

Greece’s new Cabinet was sworn in on Tuesday, with socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos assuming the dual role of deputy prime minister and foreign minister and the key position of finance minister unchanged.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced a broad reshuffle on Monday night, just a few days after the junior coalition partner pulled out of the administration after a dispute over the fate of public broadcaster ERT.

The new cabinet, which includes 11 members of PASOK in ministerial and deputy ministerial posts, was sworn in a ceremony presided over by President Karolos Papoulias.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, who also kept his post despite rumors he would be ousted, announced the names of the members of the new cabinet on Monday night, a few hours after a brief meeting between Samaras and Venizelos.

Yannis Stournaras, a close aide to Samaras, kept his position as Finance minister as did several other key cabinet members, including Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni and Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos.

Pantelis Kapsis, a former government spokesman under the technocratic government of Lucas Papademos, was given the top post at a new ministry for the state broadcaster and is to be tasked with overhauling the defunct ERT.

As anticipated, PASOK’s involvement in the new government was doubled with Yiannis Maniatis assuming the helm at the Environment Ministry and Michalis Chrysochoidis taking on a new autonomous Transport Ministry. Several other PASOK cadres were given key roles, including Evi Christofilopoulou, who is to be Mitsotakis’s deputy in the Administrative Reform Ministry hot seat.

Unexpected appointments included the posting in the Health Ministry of conservative MP Adonis Georgiadis with his ND peer Yiannis Michelakis assuming the top spot at the Interior Ministry.

Outgoing Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos was moved to the Defense Ministry, with the incumbent there, Panos Panagiotopoulos, taking the Culture portfolio.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the first cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Stournaras said PASOK’s presence in the coalition “will make things easier” for the government.

“We must push with reforms so as to open the path to growth,” deputy Health Minister Antonis Bezas said adding that the conservative-led government is on a “special mission.”