Reshuf­fle re­veals in­ter­nal rifts

Out­go­ing min­is­ters ex­press dis­may in what is seen as trou­ble down the line for prime min­is­ter

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Com­ments mad­e­dur­ing the han­dover cer­e­monies yes­ter­day that fol­lowed last Fri­day’s cab­i­net reshuf­fle high­lighted grow­ing di­vi­sions within the gov­ern­ment, as sev­eral out­go­ing min­is­ters pub­licly ex­pressed dis­may and out­right op­po­si­tion to their re­moval from the posts.

The most pro­nounced of these pub­lic re­ac­tions came from out­go­ing ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Nikos Filis who ques­tioned Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras’s de­ci­sion, say­ing dur­ing the han­dover to his suc­ces­sor, Costas Gavroglou, that he had never re­ceived any crit­i­cism that his work at the min­istry was in­ad­e­quate.

On the con­trary, he said, he had re­ceived top grades from the PM at the be­gin­ning of the school year, but it wasn’t long be­fore he was flunked.

Given Filis’s im­por­tance within rul­ing SYRIZA, his de­ci­sion to make his dis­agree­ments pub­lic could be a har­bin­ger of trou­ble to come for Tsipras, who has strug­gled to keep the lid on dis­senters within the party who claim he has veered away from its prin­ci­ples. And this dis­sent can only grow as an­a­lysts say it is cer­tain that Filis will not keep crit­i­cism to him­self if he dis­agrees with gov­ern­ment ac­tions and poli­cies. But Filis is not alone, as out­go­ing en­ergy min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis showed sim­i­lar signs of de­fi­ance, mak­ing it clear he will con­tinue to op­pose the sale of a 17 per­cent stake in the Greek Power Cor­po­ra­tion, which is ap­par­ently why he lost his job. Out­go­ing mer­chant marine min­is­ter Thodoris Dris­tas also ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment, say­ing his de­par­ture from the min­istry was not “vol­un­tary.”

Re­sent­ment, how­ever, was not con­fined to SYRIZA min­is­ters, as out­go­ing deputy in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter Maria Chrysoveloni, of ju­nior coali­tion part­ner ANEL, took aim at party leader Panos Kam­menos for not hav­ing in­formed her of the de­ci­sion to re­move her from the gov­ern­ment. Speak­ing to his new cab­i­net on Sunday, Tsipras, for his part, in­sisted that lur­ing in­vest­ments to Greece is his gov­ern­ment’s top pri­or­ity and stressed that for this rea­son it is im­per­a­tive to wrap up the sec­ond re­view of the coun­try’s third bailout.

New Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dim­itris Pa­padim­itriou, who is also re­spon­si­ble for in­vest­ment, sought to re­nounce state­ments he made in the past, re­gard­ing the cre­ation of a par­al­lel cur­rency to the euro.

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