Anthonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy and newly sworn in Prime Minister of Greece, had a surprise in store for his newly appointed cabinet when he announced they would take a 30 percent pay cut.
The Prime Minister announced he and the cabinet would be on reduced salaries. Athens News reported he said "Our target is to take the country out of the crisis, so that the sacrifices of the Greek people will not be in vain." He also announced that the use of state cars for government officials is to be reduced.
Samaras also instructed his cabinet ministers that they should refrain from unnecessary television appearances, saying “Certainly not every day on the TV screen if there is no reason.”
The almost all male new Greek cabinet comprises ministers from New Democracy,and unelected technocrats. PASOK and Democratic Left made the decision that their politicians would not participate in the coalition cabinet. Ekathimerini reported PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, leader of Democratic Left, persuaded their MPs not to take any key positions. They were however in favour of some technocrats from the outgoing caretaker government to remain in key cabinet positions.
The new coalition government will face strong opposition from SYRIZA which came second in the elections but refused to join a coalition. The decision by PASOK and Democratic Left to not participate by taking high profile positions indicates they are distancing themselves from unpopular decisions which need to be taken in relation to the bailout memorandum. This indicates their first priority is protecting their own political interests rather than making a determined effort to put the country's needs first.