As he wrapped up a visit to the monastic community of Mount Athos, Greek opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis Friday unveiled a big shake-up of New Democracy’s front bench, as he seeks to ramp up pressure on a weakened SYRIZA-led government.
Former public order minister Vassilis Kikilias was named press spokesman, replacing Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who was given the foreign affairs portfolio. Sources inside ND said Kikilias was seen as better suited to take on the government’s recently installed spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, a “fresh face” in Greek politics.
Conservative heavyweight Dora Bakoyannis will take over the development portfolio, while Adonis Georgiadis, the party’s vice president, will take an additional role as shadow defense minister. Georgiadis, an outspoken hard-right politician, is considered a good match for Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.
Former tourism minister Olga Kefaloyianni was given the culture portfolio, Makis Voridis will take over as shadow interior minister, and Miltiadis Varvitsiotis will oversee issues of migration.
The promotion of Takis Theodorikakos is seen as a key aspect of the shadow cabinet reshuffle. Theodorikakos, who has served as Mitsotakis’s strategy and communication adviser, has now been tasked with coordinating ND’s shadow cabinet.
SYRIZA instantly reacted to ND’s new scheme, labeling it as a “recycling of worn-out political figures from the [Antonis] Samaras era.”
In a statement Friday, the ruling leftists also slammed Mitsotakis for promoting the party’s hard-right led by former LAOS MPs Georgiadis and Voridis.
Recent polls show ND enjoying a comfortable lead over SYRIZA.