Greece’s reshuffled cabinet was sworn in on Saturday at the Presidential mansion in central Athens.
The focus of the renewed team, which was formed 14 months after the last general election, will be on returning to growth and improving citizens’ daily life, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted.
“We have the opportunity for a new beginning, to gain the necessary impetus to cover the last critical meters of a marathon which will allow us to reach a glade, the glade of growth, which is forecast to be very high for 2017,” the Premier said after the swearing-in ceremony.
In statements to media, ministers also expressed confidence that the 48-member cabinet will speed up reforms agreed with international creditors under the bailout program to lead the country out of the seven-year debt crisis.
“I have the willingness and determination to address difficulties. I think that everything will go well. This is my strong belief ,” said Panagiotis Kouroumblis, the former Interior Minister who was sworn in as Shipping Minister on Saturday.
“The government implements with consistency a program and will continue implementing policies which have been collectively drawn,” assured Stergios Pitsiorlas, the former chief of Greece’s privatization fund who was appointed on Friday night as Deputy Minister of Economy and Development.
“It is a sector where Greece can play a leading role. Greece has a very crucial geographical position. It could become a trade and transit hub, and to achieve this, it must have reliable networks. We are ready to work very hard.” Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Minister Nikos Pappas said when talking about his new responsibilities.
Among the 15 newcomers in the new line-up was actress Lydia Koniordou who was named Culture Minister.
“This is a moment when we should all contribute to lift this country up,” she said after the ceremony.
Political analysts in Athens commented that the shake-up left intact the core of the economic team which leads talks with creditors. Some ministers, such as Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, remained in place.
The Greek Premier sent a clear signal that he seeks a swift conclusion of the second review of the bailout so that negotiations on the debt relief can start, local media noted.
Should the new cabinet implement the same policies, pollsters warned that it was unlikely that Tsipras will manage to reverse the government’s dwindling popularity.
If national polls were held on Sunday, the main opposition conservative New Democracy party would win by garnering 26 percent of votes and SYRIZA would rank second with 18.5 percent, according to the results of ALCO’s survey for “Parapolitika” (Behind the Scenes) daily published on Saturday.
Eighty-two percent of respondents said that they do not see in the horizon Greece’s exit from the crisis.
Tsipras, 42, was first elected in office in January 2015. He pledged anti-austerity policies, but in the summer of the same year signed Greece’s third bailout since 2010, acknowledging it was the only credible lifeline keeping the country afloat in the euro zone.
The new waves of painful measures implemented since then have fuelled voters’ disappointment.