Greek PM mulling tactics amid political uncertainty

Greek PM mulling tactics amid political uncertainty

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is mulling his tactics in what has become a protracted pre-election period, with a cabinet reshuffle still expected by early September though major changes are considered unlikely amid attempts to keep the fragile coalition intact. 

According to sources, Tsipras will most likely reshuffle his cabinet after August 20, when he is expected to jubilantly proclaim the country’s exit from its international bailouts, but before September 3, when he will start preparing for his appearance at the Thessaloniki International Fair. 

Following the dismissal of Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas in response to the deadly Attica wildfires, in the wake of strong public criticism over the state’s response to the tragedy, there is less immediate pressure for a cabinet overhaul. 

Sources indicate that the continuing statements by the leader of the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos – according to which he will quit the coalition if a controversial name deal between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia comes to Parliament – are being seen as a growing irritation. 

However, it is thought that the ejection of Kammenos from his post as defense minister in a reshuffle would likely be more destabilizing for the ruling coalition than keeping him on until general elections which are scheduled for next September but widely expected to happen earlier, possibly in May, when local authority and European Parliament elections are due. 

Overall, a sweeping overhaul of the cabinet is unlikely in the wake of the Attica wildfires as Tsipras will probably want to have his trusted aides close to him in the event of another national crisis. 

Still, he is expected to bring in one or two new faces to signal that leftist SYRIZA is reaching out to other parts of the political spectrum. An addition from the center-left, a cadre of PASOK for instance, is regarded as the likeliest choice by Tsipras.

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