Greece appoints new finance minister

Athens, (IANS) Greece appointed Euclid Tsakalotos, the deputy foreign minister of international economic affairs and chief coordinator of the country’s negotiating team over a debt deal with lenders, as the new finance minister on Monday, an official announcement said.

Tsakalotos is replacing Yanis Varoufakis who stepped down early on Monday. He will be sworn in at the presidential mansion in the evening, the government announcement said, according to Xinhua.

The change at the helm of the key ministry comes after Sunday’s referendum on the creditors’ proposal for a deal which was rejected by 60 percent of voters and as Greece enters a new critical round of talks with lenders to strike an agreement to keep it afloat and in the euro zone.

A decisive extraordinary euro zone summit is to convene on Tuesday in Brussels and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to present Athens’ new proposals for a “mutually beneficial and viable” solution.

In his resignation letter Varoufakis claimed that he was stepping down to allow Tsipras to capitalise on Sunday’s outcome and clinch a good deal with lenders, because some of Greece’s interlocutors were annoyed by his presence.

Tsipras had appointed mild-mannered Tsakalotos, a 55-year-old professor of economics, as chief coordinator of Greece’s negotiating team in April in a bid to ease tensions fuelled by Varoufakis’ personal fierce arguments with several European officials.

British educated Tsakalotos, with studies at the universities of Oxford and Sussex and an academic career in Britain and Greece, is considered a Marxist ideologist who strongly supports Greece’s membership in the euro zone and the EU.

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