ATHENS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Greece's conservative-led two partite coalition government leaders proceeded with a sweeping cabinet reshuffle on Monday aimed to breathe new life into the two-year alliance and efforts to exit an acute four-year debt crisis which brought the country at the brink of default.
The spotlight after the official announcement made by new government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi, fell on the new Finance Minister, as expected.
Acknowledged Economics Professor Gikas Hardouvelis takes over the position from fellow economist Yannis Stournaras who served at the key post for almost two years and is expected to become the next central Bank of Greece Governor.
Filling the post of the Finance Minister who holds a crucial role in talks with the debt-laden country's international lenders in recent years was the key to the shake-up, according to analysts in Athens.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras opted again for an untarnished professor rather than a politician for the helm of the Finance Ministry, bringing into the battle against the crisis a fresh face, they noted.
Hardouvelis holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Berkeley and has a long academic career teaching at Greek and foreign universities. He also has extensive banking experience. Until Monday he was Chief Economist and Director of Research in the Greek Eurobank Group.
He has also served as Director of the Economic Office of former Prime Ministers Lucas Papademos and Costas Simitis.
In first reactions to the announcement on Monday experts and market analysts in Athens welcomed the choice as a signal that the government is determined to continue on the reform path to economic recovery after four years of painful austerity.
In his articles in recent years Hardouvelis has strongly supported the implementation of structural reforms as the only way to exit the crisis.
Main opposition radical left Syriza party commented in a press release that the line-up of the new cabinet shows that "the government did not receive the message voters sent in recent elections."
The shake-up comes a few days after the May 25 elections for the European Parliament in which Syriza gained ground.
In the new line-up of the cabinet which will be sworn in on Tuesday, socialist PASOK party chief Evangelos Venizelos keeps the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.
In other key posts, Dimitris Avramopoulos also remains in place as Defense Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis as Administrative Reform Minister, Olga Kefaloyannis as Tourism Minister, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis as Shipping Minister and Michalis Chryssohoidis as Transport Minister.
Outgoing Public Order Minister was named Development and Competitiveness Minister, while ruling New Democracy party MP Argyris Dinopoulos was appointed Interior Minister.
With the formation of the new cabinet, the conservative Premier and his socialist coalition partner aim to move forward with the implementation of the needed reforms to overcome the debt crisis and restore growth as of this year, according to analysts.
On the other hand, opposition parties and trade unions which express a large part of austerity-hit Greeks, demand immediate change of course and drastic relief efforts to ease the pain of record high unemployment and steep recession.
"The truth is the path ahead is a long one ... The composition of the new government must radiate confidence and reassure that the efforts will increase and our obligations will be implemented," Antonis Karakoussis, Managing Editor of "Vima" daily commented.
"The summer is crucial and autumn is not far off. If we are not coordinated, we have no luck. Neither will the debt be settled, nor will the life of many improve. Then the crisis will make a comeback, stronger than before," he warned.