Count­down to cab­i­net reshuf­fle

Of­fi­cials try­ing to con­tain fall­out from TV li­cense de­ba­cle and shift public fo­cus to min­is­te­rial changes

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The govern­ment is try­ing to con­tain the fall­out from the de­ba­cle over its re­cent auction of tele­vi­sion li­censes so it can move on to a muchde­layed reshuf­fle and breathe new life into the ad­min­is­tra­tion, pos­si­bly as early as next week.

Au­thor­i­ties hope to fi­nal­ize and sub­mit to a vote in Par­lia­ment to­day a leg­isla­tive amend­ment an­nulling a law that trans­ferred the au­thor­ity for a TV li­cense auction from the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing Coun­cil (ESR) to State Min­is­ter Nikos Pap­pas, a close aide of Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras. The main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy has in­sisted on a se­ries of changes to the bill pro­posed by the govern­ment, and Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis yes­ter­day sought to bridge the ob­jec­tions of op­po­si­tion par­ties.

The govern­ment has had to per­form an about­turn on the TV li­cense auction that it had cham­pi­oned as part of its war on cor­rup­tion af­ter the Coun­cil of State, the coun­try’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court, last month deemed it to be un­con­sti­tu­tional. The court’s ob­jec­tions were based on the fact that the govern­ment lim­ited the num­ber of li­censes to four and the fact that Pap­pas over­saw the auction rather than ESR. The govern­ment’s coun­ter­ar­gu­ment to the lat­ter ob­jec­tion is that ND’s ob­jec­tions had pre­vented ESR from con­ven­ing.

It is these is­sues that the govern­ment is at­tempt­ing to ad­dress in the amend­ment which it hopes to bring to Par­lia­ment to­day. If all goes as planned, ESR should be able to con­vene by next Mon­day, paving the way for a so­lu­tion to be found to the TV li­cense fi­asco.

The gaffe came as left­ist SYRIZA is trail­ing ND by quite a dis­tance in the polls. The govern­ment has been keen to re­vamp its cab­i­net in a bid to give it a new lease on life.

Sources said yes­ter­day that a reshuf­fle could come as early as next week. Doc­u­ments leaked to the me­dia over the past few days in­di­cated that of­fi­cials have pre­pared pres­i­den­tial de­crees that would over­haul the cur­rent struc­ture of min­istries, merging some and sep­a­rat­ing oth­ers. Govern­ment spokes­woman Olga Gerovasili did not con­firm that such plans were afoot. Still it is ex­pected that the reshuf­fle, when it comes, will be sub­stan­tial. Min­is­ters in­volved in talks with Greece’s cred­i­tors such as Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos and La­bor Min­is­ter Gior­gos Ka­trouga­los are ex­pected to keep their posts.

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