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Greek prime minister appoints economist as new finance minister

June 9, 2014

Athens (Alliance News) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appointed economist Gikas Hardouvelis as the country's new finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday aimed at showing Greeks the government is abiding to their demands for change.

Hardouvelis, who is the chief economist at Eurobank, replaces Yannis Stournaras who has been responsible for carrying out tough negotiations with Greece's international lenders in exchange for emergency bailout funds as well as returning the country to financial markets this year.

Hardouvelis also served as director of the economics office of two previous prime ministers, including those of prime minister Costas Simitis in 2000-2004 and of interim prime minister Lucas Papademos in 2011.

The newly appointed finance minister holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California and bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Harvard. He was Assistant Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University and a professor at Rutgers and State University of New Jersey.

Stournaras is expected to take up the post of the governor of the Bank of Greece by the end of the month.

Samaras carried out the broad reshuffle after the left-wing SYRIZA party gained victory over the governing New Democracy party in local and elections for the European Parliament last month.

The results are evidence of the anger felt by Greeks over austerity reforms demanded under the country's international bailout - namely repeated tax hikes as well as pension and salary cuts - all while unemployment soared to nearly 27%.

Other cabinet changes include the ministers of public order, interior, culture, education and health.

Evangelos Venizelos, who is a partner in Samaras' coalition government and the leader of the Socialist party, will keep his post as deputy prime minister as well as foreign minister.

The new cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday.

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Source: Alliance News

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