Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou has announced a cabinet reshuffle in a bid to get support for the austerity measures which have split his ruling party.
Evangelos Venizelos, once Papandreou’s biggest rival, is the new finance minister. He had been in charge of defence and has now also been appointed deputy prime minister.
Venizelos has been charged with pushing through the economic reforms which are a condition for Greece receiving an international bailout to save it from a debt default.
The announcement of the reshuffle had been delayed, suggesting the Greek PM was struggling to find someone to take on the finance brief.
The country’s political upheaval and violent street demonstrations have hit the markets and drawn criticism from other EU states. On Friday China fired off another warning when its vice foreign minister said it was “vitally important” that Europe sort out its debt mess.
Some analysts believe that even if the new Greek government pushes through economic reforms the chances it will be able to rein in its 340-billion euro debt were diminishing.