Samaras still on course for reshuffle

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is set to proceed with a cabinet reshuffle in the coming weeks despite the fact that the government denied any such plans a few days ago, Kathimerini understands.

It is expected that the reshuffle will be announced at the end of this month or in April, with PASOK ready to play a more active role in the government.

The Socialists had been reluctant to put forward serving MPs for ministerial roles when the tripartite coalition was formed last summer but following PASOK’s congress last weekend, leader Evangelos Venizelos feels a more active participation will no longer be a threat to his weakened party.

PASOK’s newfound enthusiasm could mean that New Democracy will hold fewer ministerial positions in the new cabinet. Certain positions, though, are highly unlikely to be changed. These include Yannis Stournaras as finance minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos as foreign minister, Panos Panagiotopoulos as defense minister, Costis Hatzidakis as development minister, Nikos Dendias as public order minister and Dimitris Stamatis as state minister.

Democratic Left is likely to ask for the two officials it put forward last year, Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis and Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, to remain in their positions.

Speaking to New Democracy’s political committee on Saturday, Samaras defended his record as party leader and prime minister. “The country is out of intensive care but not yet out of the hospital,” he told party members, while reminding them that when he took over the party after the 2009 elections, New Democracy was in disarray.

“As everything around us collapsed, we remained standing and now represent the platform for all those who want our country to have a European outlook,” he said.

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