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Greek PM reshuffles cabinet after debt deal reached

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-18 14:47

Greek PM reshuffles cabinet after debt deal reached

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece July 16, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his cabinet on Friday following the achievement of a debt deal with international creditors earlier this week to keep Greece afloat and in the eurozone.

The mini cabinet reshuffle came a day after a critical vote in the Greek parliament on the first set of prior actions the country needs to take to unlock vital financing.

The outline of Greece's third bailout in five years and the first round of taxation and pension system reforms were approved with 229 votes in the 300 member assembly, but the Leftist leader had to rely on the support of opposition pro-euro parties after facing a "mutiny" within his party.

A total of 39 of out of 149 lawmakers of his Radical Left SYRIZA party defied party line in a blow for the Premier that fuelled concern over the fate of the coalition government in a crucial period for the country.

Government sources have said that Tsipras intends to remain at the helm even leading a minority government until the third bailout is finalized by the end of the summer, because political instability at this period could send all efforts to avert default and Grexit off track.

As expected on Friday the Greek leader kept key ministries unchanged and replaced ministers who voted against the agreement for Greece.

Former Labor Minister Panos Skourletis was appointed new Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister, replacing Panagiotis Lafazanis, who leads the party hardliners.

Skourletis was replaced by former Deputy Minister of Administrative Reform Yorgos Katrougalos.

The new Alternate Minister for Revenues Tryfon Alexiadis, an experienced tax office expert, takes over from Nadia Valavani who resigned on Wednesday a few hours before voting against the deal.

Former Alternate Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis who also voted against party line in the crucial early Thursday vote was replaced by Pavlos Haikalis.

Dimitris Vitsas was appointed new Alternate Defense Minister, replacing Costas Isichos, another SYRIZA MP who voted against the agreement.

Yannis Amanatidis was appointed new Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs, replacing Nikos Chountis who gave up his seat in parliament to move to Brussels to replace Manolis Glezos who has resigned as Member of the European Parliament.

Olga Gerovassili was named new Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman. She replaced Gavriil Sakellaridis who was appointed parliament spokesman.

The sworn-in ceremony of the new ministers was scheduled for Saturday.

The cabinet reshuffle was carried out a few hours after parliaments across Europe also ratified Monday's euro zone summit agreement opening the way for the release of some emergency funding to Greece to cover its financial obligations next week and August and gradually normalize the functioning of the local banking sector.

On Friday, European partners formally approved a 7 billion euros bridge loan to Greece on time so that Athens can make a bond repayment to the European Central Bank (ECB) on July 20 and the next loan installment repayments to International Monetary Fund.

According to Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas, the Greek banks which remain closed since June 29 to avert a back run were expected to reopen on Monday, after ECB's decision on Thursday to resume emergency liquidity assistance to Greek lenders. Capital controls however will most likely last for longer until the banking system stabilizes.

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