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Greek Banks Set to Reopen Monday

  • VOA News

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, left, administers the secular oath to the new members of the government during a swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, July 18, 2015.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, left, administers the secular oath to the new members of the government during a swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, July 18, 2015.

Greece’s banks will reopen on Monday, three weeks after they were closed amid the country’s debt crisis.

But maximum withdrawals of about $65 a day will remain in place as will stringent controls on transfers of money abroad.

The decree to reopen the banks came hours after new ministers were sworn in following a cabinet reshuffle in which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras replaced dissident members of his ruling Syriza party following a revolt over the tough bailout terms.

In a move that marked a split with the main leftist faction in the ruling Syriza party, Tsipras sacked hardline former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and two deputy ministers following a party rebellion in which 39 Syriza lawmakers withheld support from the government over the package.

Allows for adjustment

Panos Skourletis, a close Tsipras ally who left the labor ministry to take over the vital energy portfolio, said the reshuffle marked "an adjustment by the government to a new reality.”

The reshuffle allowed Tsipras to replace cabinet rebels with allies of his own or from his junior coalition partners, the right-wing Independent Greeks party.

The positive signals also came hours after Greece’s parliament reluctantly approved austerity measures required as a condition of a $96 billion bailout deal, the country’s third financial rescue in five years.

The agreement split the country’s ruling party, and the prime minister warned that the stringent measures would unleash new pain on a population already suffering from the worst downturn in any developed nation since World War Two.

The path to the reopening of banks was cleared after Europe's central bank promised $974 million in new emergency funding for Greece on Thursday.

Formal negotiations on a new bailout -- worth as much as $96 billion -- can now begin after several European parliaments, including Germany's, voted in favor last week. The process could take several weeks.

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