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Greek finance minister stays in job

Greece's Socialist government has retained its finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle but changed other key officials involved in the effort to reform the country's troubled economy.

Under the changes, George Papaconstantinou remains finance minister, but the ministers of development, labour and health were replaced.

Greece's governing Socialists face regional elections in November, testing tolerance for harsh austerity measures required to receive up to 110 billion euro (£91.5 billion) in international bailout loans over three years.

Ministries related to the economy or facing major reforms are subjected to frequent inspections by budget enforcers from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Prime minister George Papandreou, elected last October as the country descended into financial crisis, also created an investment ministry to be headed by a close aide, and switched several junior portfolios between ministries.

The changes were seen as boosting the role of the finance ministry's control over economic reforms.

Several older party members who served in previous Socialist governments returned to the cabinet in an apparent effort to woo traditional party supporters who are less likely to back the economic austerity.

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From Belfast Telegraph