New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Greece. His government will receive the backing of Pasok and the Democratic left giving it a clear parliamentary majority of 179 seats out of 300. However, the precise terms on which Pasok and the Democratic left have joined the coalition are still not completely clear. Both parties seem reluctant to take cabinet seats and are still seeking a needed reduction in the harshness of the austerity they have signed on to.
In the case of Pasok there was according to the Athens press a strong internal debate about their senior politicians not taking cabinet posts while the Democratic Left has definitely decided not to enter the cabinet. Economic conditions continue to worsen in Greece and the GDP is expected to shrink by a further 7 % this year. How far their needs can be accommodated remain unclear since aside from hinting at giving Greece more time to repay its loans the German Chancellor remains strongly opposed to other needed measures. However, it appears that European officials are inclined to the appearance of greater flexibility . How substantive these changes will be remains to be seen. For its part Syriza continued to critique the neo-liberal basis of the austerity policies suggesting that the new government was not prepared to go far enough in demanding renegotiation of the terms.