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Sworn in at a religious ceremony, Greece’s new prime minister could do with divine intervention as he strives to get the country out of its economic quagmire. New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras had already overcome the first hurdle as he took the oath of office at the Presidential Palace in Athens.

Fresh from victory for his conservatives in a re-run election, Samaras has made a coalition deal with their traditional rivals, the Socialists. And, with the backing of the smaller Democratic Left, he believes Greece’s new government can make a difference.

“I am asking for patriotic and solid national unity and confidence from the Greek people,” Samaras told reporters. “With God’s help, we will do whatever is necessary to help our people leave this crisis behind them.”

The new administration wants to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s international lifeline and ease the pain of austerity. It faces an emboldened anti-bailout opposition and European partners who say they will adjust but not re-write the document.

Our correspondent in Athens, Laura Davidescu, says: “Two key factors for eurozone stability depend on what the Samaras government does first – maintaining the limited confidence that the Greek people have in this administration but, principally, winning back European trust. This, despite the fact that a previous conservative government has been blamed for the initial lie about the amount of Greek debt.”

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