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Greek PM Replaces Ministers

IMG_0339Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his Cabinet Friday to replace ministers who voted against the tough austerity reforms demanded by Athens’ international creditors.

Tsipras made nine changes overall.  Energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis was replaced with former labor minister Panos Skourletis, while Trifon Alexiadis became deputy finance minister following the resignation of Nadia Valavani earlier this week.

Christoforos Vernardakis, an academic, was named deputy defense minister, and lawmaker Olga Gerovassili was named the new government spokeswoman.

Greece has already won an increase on the cap for its emergency funding from the European Central Bank.

Just hours after Greek lawmakers approved the reforms required, Eurozone finance ministers agreed Thursday to hand Athens a short-term loan to meet its immediate debts and also open talks on a new three-year, $94 billion bailout, which would be the country’s third in five years.

In a related development, the German parliament voted overwhelmingly Friday to open negotiations with Greece on a third bailout package.

Lower house lawmakers supported the government proposal 439 to 119 votes and 40 abstentions to launch talks on details of the rescue plan.

Germany, as the largest contributor to Greece’s bailout, has been insisting on drastic spending cuts and tax hikes in return.

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