Athens, Jun 21: Antonis Samaras was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece, the fourth incumbent in eight months on Wednesday, following the victory of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party in the Jun 17 election. The new government is a coalition of the ND, socialist PASOK party and the Democratic Left (DIMAR). The ND had narrowly defeated SYRIZA, the radical-left party, led by Alexis Tsipras, which had campaigned in favour of anti-bailout measures.
After taking over as the PM, the 61-year-old Samaras, a US-educated economist, said he was aware that the country's economy needed a quick recovery and the dignity of the Greeks, a quick restoration. Rightly so. The new government faces a massive challenge to help Greece overcome its continuing financial woes. It has to deliver on pledges to execute the austerity measures, including cutting down of jobs, in lieu of huge rescue loans. It will also have to deal with Tsipras's opposition for the latter has said that he was in no mood to give up its anti-bailout stand. The pro-bailout leaders, however, have promised to negotiate terms of the rescue loans to lessen popular suffering.
The new government, although has a strong majority, however, is not above suspicion of any squabble, for the ND and PASOK have a long history of rivalry.
Greece's initial test after the new government takes over will be the Jun 28-29 EU summit, which is said to be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement.