Gov’t faces internal backlash over Panaritis

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced a backlash on Sunday from his leftist party lawmakers over the government’s pick for the country’s representative at the International Monetary Fund, the latest issue to deepen divisions in the ruling party.

The rift was triggered by the choice of Elena Panaritis, a member of Greece’s financial crisis negotiating team and parliamentary deputy for the centrer-left PASOK party from 2009 to 2012, to replace Thanos Katsambas at the IMF.

In a letter sent to Tsipras on Sunday, some 40 deputies from his anti-bailout SYRIZA party opposed Panaritis’ appointment and asked for it to be withdrawn. They said her views conflicted with the party’s programme since she held a post at PASOK when it supported bailout policies.

“A prominent representative of bailout policies cannot represent the government,» the lawmakers said in a letter published on a SYRIZA-affiliated website. «It’s not a symbolic but a political issue. It’s a wrong decision and we ask that it is taken back.”

“It would be good for the government and the prime minister himself to review the issue,» SYRIZA’s European Parliament lawmaker Dimitris Papadimoulis told Greek radio on Saturday.

Panaritis has been considered close to outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and criticism of her appointment was seen as an indirect attack on the minister, sparking a new round of speculation about his fate.

But Varoufakis dismissed the talk by tweeting: «Rumors of my impending resignation are for the umpteenth time grossly premature.”


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