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Greek Finance Minister Rapanos resigns after illness


Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos are both in hospital.

Greece’s new finance minister, Vassilis Rapanos, has resigned less than a week after being appointed.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Rapanos sent a letter of resignation Monday to new Greek Prime Minster Antonis Samaras, who accepted it.

The 64-year-old chairman of the country’s debt-ridden national bank was rushed to hospital on Friday after suffering from stomach pains, hours before he was due to be sworn in to his new post.

He has remained in hospital ever since. On Sunday the government announced that Rapanos and Greece’s new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras – who is currently recovering from eye surgery – would miss this week’s EU summit, at which Athens will try to soften the terms of an unpopular austerity-based international bailout.

Meanwhile, US President spoke with Samaras on Monday and urged his Greek counterpart to work closely with closely with the European and international community as his government seeks to renegotiate the terms of its international debt bailout agreement, the Associated Press reported.

The White House said Obama also congratulated Samaras on his recent election.

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According to the BBC, some commentators have speculated that other reasons may lie behind Rapanos’ decision to stand down, including his discontent with the composition of the new Greek cabinet. Former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has been mooted as a possible replacement for him.

Samaras’ and Rapanos’ medical problems also saw a first meeting between the new government and the so-called troika of international lenders to Greece postponed on Monday, Reuters reported.

Inspectors from the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ESB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were due to review the debt-stricken country’s progress in meetings the conditions attached to its bailout. A new date for the visit has yet to be set.