PM forced into a cor­ner

Health min­is­ter calls for more de­ci­sive­ness as Pa­pan­dreou’s lead­er­ship is ques­tioned

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou will hold a cabi­net meet­ing to­day, a few days af­ter Greece’s fu­ture in the eu­ro­zone was ques­tioned, and with doubts grow­ing about his own fu­ture at the helm of the gov­ern­ment.

Pa­pan­dreou’s lead­er­ship came un­der in­creased pres­sure yes­ter­day when Health Min­is­ter An­dreas Lover­dos held a news con­fer­ence to call for the gov­ern­ment to be more co­or­di­nated and de­ci­sive. Many com­men­ta­tors saw this as an at­tempt to ques­tion the ef­fec­tive­ness of the prime min­is­ter and sev­eral mem­bers of his team and a move to po­si­tion him­self as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to the prime min­is­ter.

Lover­dos, whose opin­ion poll rat­ings are the high­est of all the cabi­net mem­bers, sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment needed to im­prove its work and avoid more “con­fused and con­tra­dic­tory poli­cies.” The health min­is­ter said he would re­sign other­wise. He also sug­gested that it was time for a cabi­net reshuf­fle.

“There is no room for mixed mes­sages and the war­riors must re­turn to the front line to­day,” said Lover­dos, who also pro­posed that the whole Cabi­net should sign any agree­ments the gov­ern­ment strikes with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, col­lec­tively known as the troika.

In per­haps his most con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal, Lover­dos said that all sig­nif­i­cant draft laws should re­quire a qual­i­fied rather than sim­ple ma­jor­ity in fa­vor to pass through Par­lia­ment. This sug­ges­tion was in di­rect con­tra­dic­tion to Pa­pan­dreou’s po­si­tion, which has been not to ask for 180 votes as this would re­quire the sup­port of New Democ­racy.

Lover­dos’s bullish brief­ing seemed to stun the gov­ern­ment. Spokesman Gior­gos Pe­talo­tis said that it was “pro­duc­tive” for a min­is­ter to ques­tion his gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies. Pri­vately, Pa­pan­dreou and his aides de­bated whether the prime min­is­ter should re­act to what his min­is­ter had to say or even if he should con­sider oust­ing him.

Lover­dos’s move comes at a test­ing time for the premier, whose gov­ern­ment is com­ing un­der grow­ing pres­sure for fail­ing to meet the tar­gets set by the troika. Spec­u­la­tion over the last few days about whether Greece would need fur­ther loans or might even quit the euro has only added to the strain be­ing felt by Pa­pan­dreou and his team.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.