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Greek Premier Replaces Finance Minister In Reshuffle To Counter Public Anger

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou
Prime Minister George Papandreou has replaced his finance minister in a broad cabinet reshuffle amid rising concerns about the Greek financial crisis.

A government spokesman said that former Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos will become the new finance minister, replacing George Papaconstantinou, who moves to the Environment Ministry.

The reshuffle is meant to counter widespread discontent over tough new austerity measures essential to prevent Greece from a disastrous default.

Papaconstantinou handled negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year to get the country a 110 billion-euro bailout and has been in crucial talks over more financial help for Greece.

Faced with increasing domestic discontent, Papandreou on June 16 called for unity, saying that both Greece and the European Union are facing a key moment in history as they try to prevent Greek bankruptcy and financial collapse.

The EU and IMF have demanded stringent austerity measures worth some 28 billion euros in exchange for aid to prevent a Greek financial collapse.

compiled from agency reports