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New Greek prime minister is second in recent years who attended Amherst College

Sitting in the hot seat of a country in turmoil, Greece’s new prime minister might well be looking back to his college days — at dear old Amherst College, the small liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts.

Antonis Samaras, an Amherst and Harvard Business School graduate, was sworn in Wednesday.

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In a strange alignment of the stars, Samaras is the second Greek prime minister in recent years who attended Amherst, which currently enrolls about 1,700 undergraduates. He is also the third Greek prime minister in a row who went to college in Massachusetts.

His predecessor, Lucas Papademos, attended MIT and worked as a visiting professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Before Papademos came George Papandreou, who attended Amherst College and actually lived in a dorm with Samaras in the early 1970s.

Samaras is the head of the conservative New Democracy Party. He takes office at a time the country’s economy is spiraling downward and the government is bleeding cash, the New York Times reported today.

All eyes are on Greece. Experts say its problems are in danger of spreading through Europe and causing economic trouble worldwide.

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.
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