Greece keeps bailout rescuer Tsakalotos as finance minister after left-wing election win

Greece's newly re-elected left-wing government has retained Euclid Tsakalotos as finance minister to continue tough negotiations with other eurozone countries on the terms of a large new bailout deal.

The new Cabinet of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced late Tuesday included few changes to key ministry posts.

Tsakalotos, 55, led the final stages of talks between the Tsipras government and bailout lenders for the 86-billion-euro ($96 billion) bailout, after Athens abandoned a more combative stance toward creditors and agreed to implement new austerity measures.

Despite Tsipras' policy U-turn, he was re-elected by a wide margin in last weekend's general election, and again formed a coalition government with a small right-wing party, the Independent Greeks.

Panos Kammenos, the junior coalition party leader, returned as minister of defense.

Although Greece has already implemented another round of tax hikes to secure the new bailout deal, the government has pledged to carry out major reforms aimed at long-term spending cuts, including an overhaul of the pension system, labor market rules and public administration.

Greece has survived on international rescue loans since 2010, and is hoping to improve repayment terms for its staggering national debt that is worth roughly 175 percent of the country's annual output.

The mild-mannered Tsakalotos, an Oxford-trained former economics lecturer, is credited with rescuing summer bailout talks as Greece faced the renewed danger of an exit from the euro currency.

Left-wing party rebels who opposed their government's compromise helped trigger the early election and formed a breakaway party that failed to gain any seats in parliament.

The new Cabinet saw the Tsipras government abandon an initiative to streamline government with fewer ministerial positions, re-introducing senior posts for culture, merchant marine, and several other portfolios.

Ioannis Mouzalas, a doctor and former aid group coordinator who was appointed migration minister under a four-week caretaker government, was kept on to help Greece deal with a massive refugee crisis that has rattled the European Union.

The new Cabinet will be sworn in Wednesday.


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