Greek conservative head sworn in as PM

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The head of Greece's conservative party, Antonis Samaras, has been sworn in as Prime Minister to head a three-party coalition that will uphold the country's international bailout commitments.

Samaras, 61, was sworn on Wednesday, three days after his party came first in the second national elections in six weeks but failed to win enough votes to form a government on its own.

His New Democracy party will join forces with the socialist PASOK party, which came in third place, and the smaller Democratic Left.
The deal ended nearly seven weeks of political uncertainty in debt-crippled Greece that threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.

"Greece has a government," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, a former finance minister, said after talks with Samaras earlier on Wenesday.

He added that the country will be represented at the upcoming meeting of Eurozone finance ministers by outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias.

The meeting "will be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement, the creation of a framework that will allow us to move to positive growth and to combat unemployment which is the big problem of Greek society," Venizelos said.

Greek stocks rose in response to the news, with Athens shares up 0.6 per cent in the afternoon, limiting earlier gains.

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