LONDON - Ending weeks of political limbo, Antonis Samaras, the leader of Greece's New Democracy party was sworn in Wednesday as prime minister after agreeing to form a coalition government with the Socialists and a smaller left-wing party, the Democratic Left.
After winning Sunday's election, the president gave the New Democracy party three days to form a government. There were concerns that a resolution had to be found quickly to reassure markets that Greece was back in business after the second election in a matter of six weeks.
Mr. Samaras has fulfilled his president’s wishes.
On Wednesday he concluded discussions with leaders of The Pasok socialist party and a smaller left wing party called the Democratic Left. After visiting the president, he was sworn in at a Greek Orthodox ceremony.
He says that he is asking from the Greek people, patriotism and strong national unity and trust, that with the help of God, the coalition will do whatever they can for the people to come out of this crisis. He says that on Thursday he will ask for hard work from the new government, so that it can give hope to his people. He then thanked the crowd.
LONDON - Discussions on the lineup of ministers were expected to be completed by Wednesday night. And cooperation may be possible. All of the parties want extra time for implementing new cutbacks that were a condition for its second bailout. More and more people are suffering from lower incomes and higher taxes.
Wednesday in central Athens saw a reminder for the new government of the problems they face. Hundreds of Greeks lined up in a Central Athens park for free vegetables. Farmers from Crete handed out 27 tons of aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and other produce, with the help of the local government. Nikos Saprovalakis works for a food company helping out.
He says they will not solve any feeding problems, but that is the start of solidarity, a display of Greek solidarity, that shows that during these times Greeks are united.
Spiros Kalamantis, one of those people lining up for a food rescue package. said the reason he is taking one is that he has been unemployed for several years now. Just because he is unemployed, he said, no other reason than that.
The new Greek government may be in agreement that the austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union may need relaxing, but whether other European leaders agree to that is another matter.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given no indication that her country would sanction such a move. Germany’s parliament has not even signed off on the new Eurozone bailout fund to replace the existing smaller one.
Greece may have a new government, but its problems are not over.