Greek PM Tsipras unveils new Cabinet, Tsakalotos gets finance

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (left) gave the crisis-hit country’s key finance portfolio to Euclid Tsakalotos (right).
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (left) gave the crisis-hit country’s key finance portfolio to Euclid Tsakalotos (right).REUTERS

ATHENS (AFP) - Greece's newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras unveiled his new government on Tuesday, giving the crisis-hit country's key finance portfolio to Euclid Tsakalotos and defence to his nationalist coalition ally, the Independent Greeks.

Oxford-educated New Left economist Tsakalotos will face the tough challenge of steering unpopular economic reforms pledged by Tsipras in July in return for Greece's third bailout by international creditors in five years.

The make-up of the new Cabinet, announced by its spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili, was largely a carbon-copy of the outgoing government headed by Tsipras, who resigned in August after seven months in office after losing his majority when anti-euro hardliners in his Syriza party quit in anger over the reform-and-rescue deal.

Panos Kammenos, who heads the nationalist Independent Greeks, had defence in the previous government.

Tsakalotos too ran the crucial finance ministry in the last weeks of the first Tsipras mandate, taking over the portfolio in July from outspoken maverick economist Yanis Varoufakis.

Staunchly in favour of Greece remaining in the euro area, he is said to have won the esteem of his European Union peers during negotiations on the controversial deal to rescue Greece.

Tsipras, whose Syriza party won January elections on an anti-austerity campaign, had said he finally agreed to the harsh belt-tightening measures in the cash-for-reform agreement to keep Greece in the euro.