PM con­sid­ers op­tions

Sa­ma­ras mulling cab­i­net reshuf­fle and whether to call snap elec­tions in Oc­to­ber

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

SYRIZA’s dec­la­ra­tion that it will at­tempt to force na­tional elec­tions in Fe­bru­ary over the suc­ces­sor to Pres­i­dent Karolos Papou­lias has forced Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and his aides to be­gin dis­cussing when to carry out a cab­i­net reshuf­fle and whether the gov­ern­ment should pre-empt the op­po­si­tion’s move by call­ing snap elec­tions it­self later this year.

Sources have told Kathimerini that Sa­ma­ras is re­ceiv­ing two dif­fer­ent sets of ad­vice re­gard­ing the reshuf­fle. One school of thought is that the changes to his cab­i­net should hap­pen around April, be­fore the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and lo­cal elec­tions in May. By that point, Greece would have got through the most chal­leng­ing part of its EU pres­i­dency and the prime min­is­ter could send a sig­nal of com­mit­ment to re­forms by re­plac­ing min­is­ters who are un­der­per­form­ing.

How­ever, the com­pet­ing view is that a reshuf­fle be­fore the elec­tions would weaken the gov­ern­ment’s hand as Sa­ma­ras would be forced to ex­plain why he was chang­ing his min­is­ters for the sec­ond time in less than a year. Also, some of Sa­ma­ras’s ad­vis­ers be­lieve that the reshuf­fle would be use­ful to leave un­til af­ter the May elec­tions in case the gov­ern­ment achieves a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult.

On Fri­day night, af­ter SYRIZA in­di­cated it would at­tempt to trig­ger a na­tional vote in Fe­bru­ary, Sa­ma­ras said he did not want elec­tions be­fore 2016, when the gov­ern­ment’s four-year term will ex­pire. “We do not have a prob­lem with elec­tions hap­pen­ing in 2015 but Greece needs them to take place in 2016,” he said.

How­ever, Kathimerini un­der­stands that Sa­ma­ras is dis­cussing with his ad­vis­ers the pos­si­bil­ity of call­ing snap polls in Oc­to­ber. By then, any ne­go­ti­a­tions re­gard­ing debt relief for Greece and the fu­ture of its pro­gram would have been con­cluded. It would also be af­ter what is ex­pected to be another busy sum­mer sea­son for the Greek tourism sec­tor. By that point, the pri­mary sur­plus is also ex­pected to have grown and the first signs of growth to have emerged.

In such an event, Sa­ma­ras could ask Papou­lias to step down early and make the pres­i­den­tial suc­ces­sion part of the elec­tion cam­paign.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.