Speculation of cabinet reshuffle as rebels expelled

Speculation of a cabinet reshuffle mounted on Monday after Greece’s parliamentary vote on a new bailout deal saw the provisional government lose six of its ministers and deputy ministers, as well as support from junior coalition partner LAOS.

Reports Monday said the extend of the shake-up would depend on the timing of the next general election ? widely expected sometime in April. Some analysts say interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, a former central banker, would prefer a smaller, more flexible administration of technocrats in the style of Mario Monti’s government in Italy.

In a tense meeting Greece’s Parliament approved in the early hours of Monday the country?s new loan agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary. But coalition partners PASOK and New Democracy emerged seriously damaged from the vote as 43 socialist and conservative lawmakers broke with the party line to reject the terms of the deal which includes, among other painful measures, a 22 percent cut in the minimum wage — the price of releasing the next tranche of 130 billion euros in bailout loans. The ?rebels? were all expelled from their parties.

Out of 300 lawmakers, 278 cast their ballot following several hours of heated debate. Of those, 199 voted ?yes? in principle, while 74 voted ?no? and five voted ?present.? The rest did not vote.

Former Transport Minister Makis Voridis and Deputy Mercant Marine Minister Adonis Georgiadis went against the line of their LAOS party by voting for the bill. Both were expelled.

Sources told Kathimerini on Monday that Papademos is mulling a cabinet reshuffle ahead of a crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday. Reports in the local media said that a reshuffle could take place as soon as Monday.