Belgrade: The Serbian government replaced the finance minister on Sunday, paving the way for Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic to take over the post as part of a reshuffle ahead of elections set for next year.
"I am assuming the finance minister portfolio," Cvetkovic, 61, who has a PhD in economics, said in a live broadcast by the B92 TV on Sunday night.
Departing from the position is Diana Dragutinovic, 54, a fiscal hawk who also has a doctorate in economics, but who was seen as lacking political weight within coalition government of the European Union member candidate.
A member of ruling Democrats, Cvetkovic served as the finance minister in the previous conservative government of Vojislav Kostunica until 2008 when he was appointed the head of the pro-Western government.
Seen as a technocrat with little public charisma, Cvetkovic will also keep his position of prime minister.
Cvetkovic said his new government would have 17 ministries, down from previous 24. It will also have four deputy prime ministers and one minister without a portfolio.