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New Greek coalition government sworn in


12:55, November 12, 2011

ATHENS, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Greece's new coalition government headed by former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos was sworn in on Friday, amid hopes to put an end to the country's political turmoil.

The new interim cabinet was scheduled to hold their first meeting later on Friday, shortly after the ceremony hosted at the Presidential mansion by Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

Evangelos Venizelos retained the key post of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the three-party-team that was made up after five-day tough negotiations on the formation of the coalition government.

Among the most pressing tasks of the new government were to implement measures to secure the eurozone rescue package and to lead the country to early general elections, expected in February 2012.

Besides, a confidence vote on the 49-member government that includes mostly socialist PASOK party members, along with six representatives of the conservative New Democracy (ND) Party and four members of the smaller rightist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) that joined a government for first time, was due to be held next week.

Theodoros Pangalos, another key figure of the PASOK party which holds the parliamentary majority, also remained Deputy Prime Minister, next to Venizelos.

ND Vice President Stavros Dimas, a former EU Commissioner for Environment, was named as new Minister of Foreign Affairs, while the second ND Vice President Dimitris Avramopoulos took the helm of the National Defence Ministry.

On the part of LAOS, legislator Mavroudis Voridis was sworn in as new Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister.

The majority of Ministers in former Prime Minister George Papandreou's government, kept their portfolios, such as Regional Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis and Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos. A new government spokesman was expected to be named in coming days.

In first reactions to the formation of the coalition government, political analysts, media commentators and ordinary people in Greece did not expect major changes in the economic policy of Papademos' administration.

Meanwhile, opposition Left parties and labor unions warned new rounds of anti-austerity protests, along with some entrepreneurs who called for "alternative solutions" to the handling of the debt crisis, such as focus on development instead of cutbacks on salaries, pensions and tax hikes.

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