The government has sought to end speculation that Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will be removed from his post as part of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.
Resorting to humor, the prime minister’s office said that “Tsakalotos must move from Preveza where he is taking his holidays” and come back to Athens to assume his duties as finance minister.
The comments follow rampant speculation that Tsakalotos will leave the Finance Ministry so he can be upgraded to an even higher post.
But the rumors raised concern among senior officials that they could fuel festering power struggles within the cabinet that will undermine the government’s cohesion.
“The statement on Monday means that Tsakalotos is not about to change position,” a government aide told Kathimerini, while a source said that if, indeed, he were to be moved to a post other than that of vice president of the government, that would be seen as a demotion. And, according to analysts, Tsipras will not want to get on the wrong side of a minister who is known for speaking his mind.
Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Tsakalotos would remain in government if he felt he was being demoted.
Apart from a potential power struggle, the government’s intention not to change the leadership of the Finance Ministry also stems from its desire for stable relations with the country’s international creditors who reportedly respect and trust Tsakalotos.
The concerns of the creditors over the possibility of Tsakalotos’s removal have reportedly already been relayed to Athens.
Given that the coalition is eager to complete the roadmap that will lead the country out of the bailout next year, the last thing it wants is to cast doubt over its commitment by removing the man who negotiated with Greece’s creditors over the last two years.
Regardless of whether Tsakalotos will be replaced or not, sources reiterated Monday that Tsipras is still planning a cabinet reshuffle in the near future.