Newly-appointed Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis (L) poses with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the sworn-in ceremony in Athens, Greece, Jan. 14, 2019. Former head of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff admiral Evangelos Apostolakis was sworn in on Monday as the country's new Defense Minister ahead of a confidence vote to the government which is scheduled for Wednesday evening, Greek national news agency AMNA reported. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Former head of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff admiral Evangelos Apostolakis was sworn in on Monday as the country's new Defense Minister ahead of a confidence vote to the government which is scheduled for Wednesday evening, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
The sworn in ceremony was held in the presence of President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a few hours after the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) terminated his term as armed forces' chief so that he can assume his new role.
His deputy Constantinos Floros takes over temporarily, it was announced, according to an e-mailed statement from the Defense ministry.
Apostolakis replaces Panos Kammenos who stepped down on Sunday, pulling the party he leads from the ruling coalition.
After almost four years of striking an alliance with Tsipras' Left SYRIZA party the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) withdrew from the government due to their opposition to the agreement reached last summer for the Macedonia name issue.
Under the deal which was ratified by Skopje's parliament last week and by February is due to be voted also by the Greek assembly, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will be renamed Republic of North Macedonia in exchange of the opening of its accession path to the EU and NATO.
The agreement aims to end a dispute which started in 1991 between the two neighboring states over the use of the term Macedonia.
Kammenos' ANEL and other critics of the deal have not been convinced that it ends future territorial claims by the small Balkan state.
With 145 MPs in the 300 member strong parliament Tsipras' SYRIZA needs the support of opposition deputies to win the confidence vote.
Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos appeared confident that the government will win the vote on Wednesday to continue its work until the next general elections in October this year, he told local Alpha TV.
Meanwhile, Kammenos announced the expulsion from ANEL's parliamentary group of two ministers who said they will cast a vote of confidence in the government, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Vassilis Kokkalis.