Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is set to decide in the coming days on whether to reshuffle the Cabinet after PASOK leader and coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos, fresh from the party’s congress over the weekend, declared that he was ready to put active Socialist politicians in the government.
When the tripartite coalition was formed after the June elections, Venizelos avoided putting front-line PASOK politicians in the Cabinet, choosing instead figures that were associated with the Socialists. On Monday night, though, he indicated that his party was ready to put front-line MPs into the government.
“Of course political figures should participate in the government if we agree on policies,” Venizelos said in an interview on Mega TV.
There have been rumors of an imminent reshuffle for the past few weeks but Venizelos’s latest comments, which came after he emerged strengthened from PASOK’s congress, suggest that Samaras will be forced to either proceed with changes or put the speculation to rest with a firm denial.
Kathimerini understands that not all of the prime minister’s advisers are convinced that a reshuffle would be a good idea, especially given that personnel from key ministries cannot be changed as that would risk upsetting the implementation of Greece’s fiscal adjustment program. Other aides see the reshuffle as an opportunity to replace ministers and deputy ministers that are considered to be performing below par.
One of the scenarios that has been suggested is that Venizelos will become part of the government, taking up the post of deputy prime minister and possible foreign minister.
The PASOK leader has already identified lawmakers within his party that would be suitable for cabinet roles. These include Yiannis Maniatis, Evi Christofilopoulou and Paris Koukoulopoulos, who have previous cabinet experience, as well as several deputies who have not served in government before.
PASOK is due to pick the general secretaries of its central political committee and political council this weekend.