Queues form as desperate people received food handouts from Crete's farmers
Antonis Samaras sworn in as prime minister as head of conservative-led three party coalition
New coalition vows to renegotiate crippling bailout agreement to ease burden on debt-crippled country
Greek stocks rose marginally in response to the coalition deal
Greece had been effectively ungoverned after two election in six weeks resulted in political stalemate
Country struggling through a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 per cent
Leader of Democratic Left says coalition will 'lift those measures that have literally bled society'
Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country's politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.
Young children as well as the elderly waited in line in Athens to collect the parcels of fruit and vegetables donated by farmers from Crete to help ease the devastating austerity faced by many Greeks.
But as hungry people collected food, a few miles away a new conservative-led alliance was formed, vowing to renegotiate the country's strict European bailout in a bid to breath economic life back into the debt-stricken country.
Conservative Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister and head of a three-party coalition that will uphold the country's international bailout commitments.
In the hot seat: New Prime Minister Antonis Samaras vowed to rescue Greece's economy as he spoke for the first time after being sworn in to office at the presidental palace
The move ends a protracted political crisis that had cast grave doubt over the country's future in Europe's joint currency and threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.
Samaras, an American-educated 61-year-old economist, was sworn in three days after his party won the second national elections in six weeks but without enough votes to form a government on its own.
His New Democracy party will join forces with the socialist PASOK party, which came in third place, and the smaller Democratic Left led by Fotis Kouvelis.
Discussions on the lineup of ministers were expected to be completed by Wednesday night.
I will ask the new government that will be formed tomorrow to work hard so that we can offer tangible hope to our people, Samaras told reporters as he left the presidential mansion.
Greek stocks rose marginally in response to the news, with Athens shares closing up 0.5 percent, limiting earlier gains.
The new prime minister was to meet with outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias, PASOK head Evangelos Venizelos and Kouvelis on Wednesday evening.
All three parties broadly back Greece's pledges to bailout creditors for further austerity and reforms, although they have pledged to renegotiate some of the terms for the rescue loans.
New Democracy and PASOK are also looking for an extension of at least two years in the deadlines for implementing fresh cutbacks worth a total 14.5billion euro ($18.42 billion).
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis went a bit further today, saying that Greece should eventually disengage from the austerity commitments and lift those measures that have literally bled society.
Greece has been dependent on the loans from other Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund since May 2010. In return, it has imposed deep spending cuts, slashed salaries and pensions, and repeatedly hiked taxes.
The measures have left the country struggling through a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 percent and tens of thousands of businesses shutting down.
The face of the crippling poverty gripping the country was plane to see as hundreds of poverty-stricken Greeks queued in a central Athens park for free vegetables.
Cretan farmers handed out some 2,700 10-kilo packages of produce, in cooperation with the capital's municipal authorities.
Among the people lining up was Panayiota Sidera, 31, from Athens. She said she has been unemployed for two-and-a-half years and her husband is also out of a job. The couple is living on a (euro) 250 monthly disability pension and rent from an apartment they own, and has a (euro) 540-a-month loan installment to pay.
That's my predicament, she said, adding that the food handout is helping people, and I'm grateful.
The government should have been doing this years ago, she said.
Zanias is to represent Greece at an upcoming meeting of Eurozone finance ministers.
The eurogroup talks will be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement, the creation of a framework that will allow us to move to positive growth and to combat unemployment which is the big problem of Greek society, Venizelos said earlier in the day.
In Sunday's vote - and the previous, inconclusive May 6 election - angry voters strongly favored parties promising to end the hardship by tearing up Greece's pledges for continued austerity and reforms.
However, the anti-austerity standard bearer - the radical left Syriza party - finished a narrow second in Sunday's election that gave New Democracy 129 of Parliament's 300 seats.
The development is expected to calm fears that a protracted political crisis in debt-struck Greece could have led to the country being forced out of the joint European currency.
Such an event could have dragged down other financially troubled Eurozone nations and hammered the global economy.
PASOK came third in Sunday's election, which was won by the conservative New Democracy party.
No party won enough votes to form a government on its own, leading to three days of coalition talks.
Greek politicians had been locked in negotiations to form a coalition government throughout the night after the second general election in six weeks.
As an agreement neared, Mr Venizeloss socialist Pasok party, which came third in Sundays elections, said: With [radical Left-wing party] Syrizas refusal, the only practical solution now is the creation of a government with the support of New Democracy, Pasok, and the Democratic Left.
This government must be formed as soon as possible. As now things stand, this can be achieved by midday Wednesday.
His party, he said, will support this government sincerely and will participate in it in the most beneficial way in order to make it effective and credible.
There had been hopes the deal would have been done by yesterday. The timetable for negotiations runs out today.
Rival party leaders were today locked in a second day of power-sharing talks, with two potential minority partners voicing hope that a coalition can be quickly formed.