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Venizelos is new finance minister

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou named a new finance minister on Friday, promoting defence minister Evangelos Venizelos to the post to tackle the country's crippling debt crisis, a spokesman said.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2011 13:18 IST

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou named a new finance minister on Friday, promoting defence minister Evangelos Venizelos to the post to tackle the country's crippling debt crisis, a spokesman said.

Venizelos, a 54-year-old party veteran who had challenged Papandreou for the party leadership in 2007, was also promoted to government vice president alongside Theodoros Pangalos.

Papandreou also named a new foreign minister, 49-year-old Stavros Lambrinidis, formerly head of the ruling party's group of deputies at the European Parliament and a long-term confidant of Papandreou when the latter held the post a decade ago.

The reshuffle also saw deputy defence minister Panos Beglitis, another close aide of Papandreou, promoted to full minister.

Ex-finance minister George Papaconstantinou was named to the environment ministry, a move analysts see as a demotion.

The announcement came a day after a party revolt by backbenchers disgruntled by Papandreou's handling of the country's debt crisis and his failure to agree on a unity government with opposition leaders.