Three days after the elections and the lengthy talks Greece finally has a prime minister. Although the prime minister's oath was announced at a later hour, the arrival of the Greek Archbishop Ieronymos in the presidency confirmed the news that it will take place immediately. Antonis Samaras arrived and was sworn in shortly after 4 pm. Before that, he informed Carlos Papoulias about the agreement for a coalition government reached between the leaders of PASOK and the Democratic Left.
After receiving the mandate to form a cabinet, he went on foot to the prime minister's residence near the presidency. He stopped at the entrance of the presidency and made the traditional statement to Greek citizens.
"I urge the Greek people to show patriotism, national unity and trust. With the help of God, we will do everything we can to emerge from the crisis as soon as possible."
On the way to the council of ministers, a group of enthusiastic supporters applauded him, commenting on how many years they have been waiting for the moment when Antonis Samaras would take the high post.
There, caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikramenos greeted him and informed him of pending state affairs. Then, the leader of the "blue" had his first briefing with members of his personal staff and wished success to the employees.
At 7 pm, the three leaders met with caretaker Minister of Finance George Zanias to give him directions for tomorrow's meeting of European Union finance ministers. Minutes after it started, it was clear that he would go to Brussels together with Vassilis Rapanos as a future Minister of Finance. George Zanias will be his deputy in the new cabinet.
Those are the only certain names in the list of government members. The puzzle is being gradually completed to give Greece a "long-term government" in which ministers "will get down to work hard as early as tomorrow," as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told President Carlos Papoulias.
The chairman of parliament will most probably be Evangelos Meimarakis, although the name of New Democracy’s vice president Dimitris Avramopoulos was being proposed until the last moment.
Along with Vassilis Rapanos and George Zanias Christos Staykouras from New Democracy, who was the deputy person in charge of the economic affairs of the party, will have a seat in the Ministry of Finance.
PASOK will participate with eight representatives - four ministers and four deputy ministers. According to sources, none of them was a deputy in the past but in contrast, they are experts in their professional activities. Minister of Interior in the cabinet of Lucas Papademos, Thassos Yianitsis, will not participate in the cabinet despite the expectations. PASOK is interested in the Ministries of Defence and Agriculture, not considering necessary the remaining of caretaker Minister Napoleon Maraveyas in this post.
According to rumours, Dimitris Avramopoulos will most probably return to the Ministry of Defence and former Minister Frangos Frangoulis is expected to take up the post of deputy minister.
The political adviser to Antonis Samaras Dimitris Mihelakis is expected to be appointed as Minister of State. New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis will not participate in the government because the Prime Minister has provided another post for him. It is not yet clear who the spokesman of the government will be and it is not excluded that the post be taken by a recently unknown representative of the "blue".
The names of Yiannis Stournaras and Costis Hatzidakis were discussed for the Ministry of Development. If PASOK insisted that the caretaker minister should continue to hold the office, Costis Hatzidakis will head the Ministry of Infrastructure and Networks. In an unlikely scenario, Yiannis Stournaras could become Costis Hatzidakis’ deputy minister.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be appointed Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the energy expert Ilias Konofagos will be appointed his deputy.
Professor of cardiology Christodoulos Stefanadis with deputy minister Marios Salmas from New Democracy will proably take over the Ministry of Health. The "blue" Nikos Dendias will be appointed as Minister of Citizen Protection.
Costas Dzavaras will probably take the seat in the Ministry of Justice following the refusal of the Democratic Left to support the nomination of Charalambos Athanasiou.
Two of the caretaker ministers of Interior Antonis Manitakis and Employment Antonis Roupakiotis will remain in office at the request of Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis.
Minister of Education will be Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos, and when a separate Ministry of Tourism is created, it will be headed by Olga Kefalogiannis. Dora Bakogiannis will not participate in the new cabinet.