21 Jun 2012

New Greek govt to seek easing of bailout terms

9:30 am on 21 June 2012

Greece's new government is promising to negotiate softer terms on its harsh international bailout, help the people regain their dignity and steer the country through its biggest crisis for four decades.

Parties broadly in favour of Greece's international bailout have formed a coalition government and Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as the country's fourth prime minister in eight months.

His party, New Democracy, formed a coalition with the socialist Pasok party and the smaller Democratic Left, the BBC reports.

Mr Samaras, 61, vowed his government would do whatever it could to tackle an economic crisis that has shaken the euro zone.

"I am fully aware how critical this time is for our nation," he said after he was sworn in on Wednesday.

"I know very well that Greek people are hurt and need to regain their dignity. I know that the economy must quickly recover to re-establish social justice and cohesion."

Previously, Mr Samaras has said Greece will meet its commitments under the bailout but would seek changes in the terms in order to relieve Greek people from crippling unemployment and hardship.

Earlier, announcing the coalition deal, Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said the three parties had taken on the burden of responsibility to renegotiate the bailout agreement and the job of exiting Greece from the crisis.

Reuters reports the new government's first battle is likely to be with foreign lenders as it tries to convince them to sign off on the next instalment of aid and allow more leeway on the austerity pledges.

Greeks were forced to return to the polls after parties failed to form a government following a first election last month.

The inconclusive 6 May poll had raised fears Greece could leave the euro zone and trigger a wider crisis.