PM accepts deputy minister’s resignation, raising reshuffle speculation


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has accepted the resignation of Deputy Education Minister and Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP Costas Zouraris, his office confirmed on Tuesday.

According to sources in the Maximos Mansion, the leftist premier met late Monday with the right-wing official from the junior coaltion party after a contentious vote in Parliament ratifying a multi-bill of fresh reforms and austerity measures mandated by the country’s creditors.

Zouraris handed in his letter of resignation after causing a furor by insulting the fans of two popular soccer clubs on live public radio on Sunday.

Zouraris’s duties will be taken over for the time being by Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, increasing speculation that Tsipras is planning a cabinet reshuffle by the end of the month, possibly after a meeting of the Eurogroup in Brussels on January 22, where eurozone finance ministers will assess Greece’s progress in its bailout implementation.

The 1,500-page austerity bill, which includes the demands by Greece’s international creditors to expedite auctions of foreclosed properties and changes to labor law that will make it harder for unions to call strikes, was approved on Monday night by 154 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament.

Earlier on Monday, Zouraris had intimated that he may leave ANEL and becoming an independent MP, a move that would further whittle the coalition’s slim majority.