Ailing Greek finance minister quits
Greece’s new finance minister resigned yesterday due to ill health, throwing the government’s drive to soften the terms of an international bailout into confusion less than a week after it took office.
Vassilis Rapanos, 64, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, was rushed to hospital on Friday before he could be sworn in, complaining of abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness.
The banker, who was imprisoned by a military junta in the 1970s, has a history of ill-health.
The office of prime minister Antonis Samaras, who took up his post only last Wednesday following a 17 June election, said Mr Rapanos’s resignation on health grounds had been accepted.
Mr Rapanos said in his resignation letter: “Following discussions with my physicians, I have concluded that my health would not at the moment allow me to carry out my duties fully”.
Mr Samaras has only just emerged from hospital himself after surgery to repair a damaged retina. Both he and Mr Rapanos have already said they will not be attending the 28-29 June European summit.
It was a worryingly chaotic start for the new government, formed after the second election in a month and facing huge domestic opposition to a harsh international bailout and steadfast European opposition to any watering down of its terms.
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