As the government braces for a long hot summer – including the effort to push for changes to the electoral law, passing tough reforms and the bid to deal with the fallout sparked by revelations that it planned for the country’s exit from the eurozone last year – sources confirmed on Thursday that a cabinet reshuffle is indeed on the cards.
Sources suggested on Thursday that there will be a reshuffle, insisting, however, that it is not an immediate priority for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Even though nothing is written in stone yet, the same sources said that it is highly likely that Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas will be given an “honorary discharge” and posted as a representative of Greece with an international organization.
Mouzalas had created a mini-crisis back in April when he referred to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as “Macedonia,” triggering a storm of protest, particularly from among members of the junior coalition partner, the far-right Independent Geeks (ANEL).
In contrast, the controversial and outspoken Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis is expected to keep his job, as the government feels that if anything, his antics have given it a boost.
Others ministers that could be reshuffled include Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis, Alternate Minister of Finance Tryfon Alexiadis and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis.
What appears certain is that no former PASOK member – apart perhaps from Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou – will be given a ministerial portfolio, due to the opposition of the Group of 53 faction within ruling SYRIZA, which see itself as a guardian of party purity.
In the meantime, the government seemed content Thursday to bask in what it hailed as a successful state visit by Tsipras to China, pointing to three deals Athens has signed with shipping giant Cosco, Alibaba and telecom equipment maker ZTE that, it hopes, could kick-start the economy and put Greece back on the map for investors.
“The country’s image abroad has changed over the last one-and-a-half years,” government aides said.