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.
The minister was named in a new cabinet sworn in earlier Wednesday under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
He’s not the only one in his party with a record of conspiratorial comments about Jewish people – at the end of past year, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos suggested on TV that Jews receive preferential treatment in tax terms, according to Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
The naming of ministers in Greece’s coalition government was marred by controversy on its first day in office following the decision of prime minister Alexis Tsipras to appoint an MP accused of holding anti-Semitic and homophobic views to a junior ministry.
George Chouliarakis, who was finance minister in the caretaker government during the election campaign and also a respected member of the bailout negotiation team, was “very likely” to be appointed deputy finance minister, the source said.
“Tsipras’ basic criterion was to keep the balance in his party…”
“Our goal is recovery and reconstruction”, deputy prime minister Yiannis Dragasakis told reporters before the ceremony. He called on all European Union member states to share responsibility in resolving the migration crisis.
The government announced the composition of the new government Tuesday night.
But it is the implementation of the bailout, which was agreed after months of bitter negotiations in which Tsipras railed against austerity being imposed on Greece, that will be the government’s overwhelming task.
New Democracy under Mr. Meimarakis failed to substantially strengthen their profile, maintaining near constant polling rates despite losing many votes in absolute figures. Among the initiators are former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, former German Finance Minister and Left Party founder Oskar Lafontaine and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the French Left Party.
Topping Greece’s agenda is the need to push through the painful austerity measures demanded by Greece’s EU-IMF creditors, in order to boost growth and to enhance Athens’ credibility in foreign eyes.
Greece’s leftist government says the economy can not recover from one of the worst depressions to hit an industrialized country in modern times unless the burden of servicing its debt is eased. Indeed, even if the crucial mission is putting the economy back on its feet, the new executive has as first emergency immigration, a situation that remains dramatic for Greece.