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Greece: Coalition government to be formed

Greece's leading political parties struck a deal for a coalition government, with Antonis Samaras as prime minister.

Greece coalition government june 20 2012Enlarge
New Democracy party leader, Antonis Samaras (L) meets with with Greek President Carolos Papoulias at the presidential palace in central Athens, on June 20, 2012. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Greek party that won Sunday's elections reached a deal to form a coalition government, according to the BBC.

The conservative New Democracy party and the Socialists, Pasok, struck a deal to also include the moderate Democratic Left in a coalition government, said the BBC.

Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party will be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, and earlier met with President Karolos Papoulias to receive the formal mandate to govern.

"Greece has a government," said Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, according to the AP.

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Syriza, the party which came in second place, will likely be a strong voice of opposition against the bailout, said the BBC.

Venizelos, a former finance minister involved in negotiating Greece's second debt deal, said the outgoing finance minister, George Zannias, would represent Greece at the summit meeting of European finance ministers on Thursday, according to The New York Times.

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The Times reported that Vassilis Rapanos, the president of the National Bank of Greece, is expected to take on the finance portfolio in the cabinet.

Party leaders have said they want to renegotiate the terms of the 130 billion euro ($165 billion) bailout to encourage growth and soften austerity measures, but their European partners have said they will adjust but not re-write the document, according to Reuters.

The coalition government will face a country in the fifth year of recession, with one in five workers unemployed and violent protests against the austerity measures, Reuters noted.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120620/greece-coalition-government-be-formed