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27 January 2015

European Voice: New Greek government sworn in

One deputy prime minister, three ministers of state, ten ministers and 25 deputy ministers were sworn in, along with one parliamentary speaker and one government spokesman, taking the total of appointments to 41.

Syriza won 149 seats in Sunday’s (25 January) general election, just two seats short of an outright majority in the national parliament, and has formed a coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks, which won 13 seats. The pairing is likely to make negotiations with the troika, Greece’s international creditors, much more difficult as both parties take the same stand on austerity conditions.

Yiannis Dragasakis, a Syriza MP since 2004 will become deputy prime minister, overseeing economic affairs. He served as an MP in 1989 and 1996, and was briefly deputy minister of national economics in the Zolotas government (1989-90).

The list includes a current Syriza MEP, Georgios Katrougalos, who becomes deputy minister of administrative reform, and Nikolaos Chountis, a former MEP from 2004-14, who has been appointed as deputy minister for European affairs.

Tsipras has appointed Yanis Varoufakis as finance minister. He is an economist with Greek and Australian nationality and his role will include renegotiating the terms of Greece’s bailout – a promise made by the party during the election campaign. Varoufakis is a professor of economic theory in Athens and a visiting professor at the University of Texas. He once described the austerity deals as “fiscal waterboarding”.

Varoufakis runs a popular blog, on which he wrote after his appointment: “To continue blogging is normally considered irresponsible for a finance minister […]. My blog posts will become more infrequent and shorter. But I do hope they compensate with juicier views, comments and insights.”

Panos Kammenos, leader of the junior coalition partner, will become defence minister. He joined the national parliament on behalf of the centre-right New Democracy party in 1993 and was a minister of marine affairs in 2007. In 2012 Kammenos founded the Independent Greeks party after he was expelled from New Democracy when he voted against a coalition government in a vote of confidence.

Nikos Voutsis, a member of the national parliament since 2012 and secretary of Syriza’s parliamentary group, gets the interior ministry post. Nikos Kotzias, political theory professor at the University of Piraeus, will be foreign affairs minister. He was head of the Greek foreign ministry think-thank on negotiations for the new European Convention and has worked as a senior expert at the ministry.

Full article on European Voice (subscription required)

© European Voice

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