Search for new Greek finance minister continues

The coalition’s search for a finance minister to replace Yannis Stournaras continued but it appears that the drawn-out cabinet reshuffle has put paid to Greece’s chances of receiving the next 1-billion-euro installment of its bailout package from the eurozone later this month.

Sources told Kathimerini it has been decided that Stournaras’s successor will be someone from within New Democracy. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his advisers are looking for someone who is respected within the conservative party but who will also have the ear of European officials.

The appointment of a New Democracy politician to the Finance Ministry post will mean that PASOK will be allowed to place one or two more of its officials in the new cabinet.

The prolonged speculation over the new ministerial lineup, especially who will take Stournaras’s post, means that the government is unlikely to be in a position to complete the “prior actions” it had agreed with the troika in time for the June 13 Euro Working Group meeting, when eurozone officials were due to approve the next loan disbursement.

This task was also made more difficult by the government’s sudden decision on Wednesday to end Parliament’s full plenary sessions for the summer recess. The summer sessions, when 100 MPs will sit in three phases so all 300 lawmakers take part during the next months, are due to begin on June 17. The legislation agreed with the troika cannot be passed before then.