A government reshuffle that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is said to have been planning for a while is expected to take place next week amid mounting speculation about the fate of key ministers.
The changes originally had been planned for the end of this week but were postponed over concerns that they would detract from Tsipras’s speech from the island of Ithaca hailing the country’s exit from its international bailouts as a landmark.
Another reason for the delay, sources indicated, was the fact that complications transpired in Tsipras’s plans for a cabinet overhaul.
It appears that Interior Minister Panos Skourletis poses one of the biggest obstacles to the premier’s maneuvering as he is said to be less than enthusiastic about a potential move to general secretary of leftist SYRIZA.
Skourletis – a close aide to Tsipras who has temporarily assumed the duties of Nikos Toskas, who quit as citizens’ protection minister over the slow response to last month’s disastrous wildfires in Attica – has reportedly set out conditions for a potential move to a party post.
Meanwhile the current party secretary, Panagiotis Rigas, is said to have been irked by the behind-the-scenes debate about his replacement, not least because such appointments are carried out by the party’s central committee, not by the premier.
Another sensitive issue is the fate of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who leads SYRIZA’s right-wing coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL).
Since Greece’s official exit from its bailouts earlier this week, debate has resurged within the ranks of SYRIZA about whether it is time for the leftists to end their alliance with ANEL.
“The conditions that dictated this tactical alliance no longer apply,” the spokesman for SYRIZA’s parliamentary group, Nikos Xydakis, told 24/7 FM.