NEWS

New Greek cabinet sworn in with few new faces

new-greek-cabinet-sworn-in-with-few-new-faces

Greece's new cabinet was sworn in on Wednesday, bringing in few new faces as re-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras sought continuity in pushing through economic reforms under the watchful eye of international lenders.

Tsipras appointed two bailout negotiators to head his economic team, reappointing Euclid Tsakalotos as finance minister and making Giorgos Houliarakis deputy finance minister.

Tsakalotos, a low-key Oxford University-trained Marxist economist, was at the finance helm when Greece and its creditors produced an 86 billion-euro loan accord in August.

Houliarakis, who was finance minister in the caretaker government during the recent election campaign, was a senior member of the bailout negotiation team, known for his grasp of details.

Both need to steer through reforms ranging from changes to the pension and labor systems, to overseeing the recapitalization of banks and discussion of debt relief for the country.

Speaking after the ceremony, Labor Minister George Katrougalos said the new administration elected Sunday had to focus on the reforms that were a key condition for the third international bailout.

“Our aim is to implement the [bailout] agreement in a way that is fair,” deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis told journalists before the ceremony.

Tspiras entrenched his position as Greece's dominant political figure by sweeping to victory in national elections on Sept. 20. He has teamed up with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, his partners in a previous administration from January to August, giving the government a slim majority of 155 seats in the 300-member parliament.

New Democracy, which polled 28 percent in the election and came second, dismissed the cabinet line up as a “recycling of old faces in the same ministries.”

"We hope that the second SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government overcomes the inadequacy of the first one," it said in a statement. [Combined reports]