Gov’t mulls successor to Stournaras in Finance Ministry

Government officials continued discussions on a pending cabinet reshuffle on Monday with all signs pointing to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras leaving his post to go to the Bank of Greece though it remained unclear who would replace him.

Sources told Kathimerini that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his deputy Evangelos Venizelos were in constant contact to discuss the composition of the cabinet though they were unlikely to hold another meeting on the matter, at least not one the public will be informed about.

Officials are said to be having second thoughts about appointing Samaras’s close adviser Stavros Papastavrou to the post of finance minister as the premier will want him by his side in the fall when Greece is expected to launch talks with its international creditors on lightening its debt load. In view of this, it is thought likely that a political candidate will be chosen for minister who may currently lack Stournaras’s negotiating skills but will be able to competently address both the Greek public and hold his own against the leader of opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, in Parliament.

It remained unclear on Monday night when the reshuffle will be carried out, with sources indicating that Wednesday or next Tuesday are the likeliest dates for the announcement.

Samaras is said to be keen to avoid any further delay, as tensions are growing in the coalition, with reports of backstabbing between conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK MPs, and a reshuffle could provide the government with a much-needed revamp.

The premier is due to convene a session of ND’s executive committee at 6 p.m. on Monday to assess the outcome of last month’s European Parliament and local authority elections. The polls produced a mixed result, with SYRIZA winning the European polls, albeit with a smaller margin than it had targeted, and ND prevailing in most of the country’s regions although SYRIZA secured Attica.