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Samaras sworn in as Greece prime minister

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New Democracy conservative party leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as prime minister [EPA]Antonis Samaras, the head of the conservative New Democracy party that came first in Sunday's election, has been sworn in as the new prime minister.

Wednesday's swearing-in took place just minutes after Greece's socialist PASOK party announced that the country has a new government, ending nearly seven weeks of political uncertainty which threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.

Evangelos Venizelos, a former finance minister and PASOK head, said that details of the three-party coalition government were still being worked out and were expected to be finalised by the end of the day.

Samaras is a hawkish former foreign minister who has vowed to revise a "torturous" EU-IMF bailout deal and rid the country of undocumented migrants.

The 61-year-old conservative leader of the New Democracy party, which won a narrow victory in Sunday's elections against the anti-austerity Syriza party, was once one of the youngest politicians elected to the Greek parliament.

During his campaign, he promised to do everything to keep Greece in the euro but also argued for an easing of the terms of an EU-IMF bailout - a promise that could put him on a path to confrontation with foreign creditors.

He will also face pressure from a public fed up with two years of austerity and from the many voters who only cast their ballots for him in a critical election to avert a disastrous Greek euro exit but actually dislike him.

Elected member of parliament at the age of 26 after an elite education, Samaras had a meteoric career but then suffered a downfall over his stance on the crisis with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in the 1990s.

Greek political parties have also agreed to name Vassilis Rapanos, National Bank chairman, as finance minister of a conservative-led coalition being formed, a party official said on Wednesday, confirming a report on state television.


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