NEWS

Cabinet tasked to get fast results

cabinet-tasked-to-get-fast-results

Incoming Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday appointed a cabinet including trusted aides as well as several personalities from outside the political sphere with the key goal of delivering on his promises without delay.

Two of the top jobs went to two vice presidents of his center-right New Democracy. Costis Hatzidakis was given the environment and energy post, and will have to tackle the hot potato that is the debt-racked Public Power Corporation.

Meanwhile Adonis Georgiadis was entrusted with the newly named Ministry of Development and Investments and will be tasked with honoring Mitsotakis’ pre-election pledge to accelerate projects that have become stuck in red tape, such as the privatization of the former Athens airport at Elliniko, and to bring in new investments.

Christos Staikouras was given the top job at the Finance Ministry thanks to his experience in the same ministry in previous administrations. 

Another prominent ND MP, Nikos Dendias, assumed the post of foreign minister, while one-time socialist Michalis Chrysochoidis took the top job at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry.

The latter, who headed the same ministry under previous governments, was struck from the members’ list of centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) following the announcement of his inclusion in the cabinet. KINAL also ejected Lina Mendoni, the new culture minister, from the party.

Mitsotakis brought in the two former socialists in a bid to open up his government to the center ground.

He also brought in technocrats as part of a push for greater efficiency, appointing 21 individuals from outside the political sphere.

Panagiotis Pikrammenos, formerly the president of the Council of State who briefly served as caretaker prime minister at the peak of Greece’s economic crisis in 2012, was appointed deputy prime minister.

The appointment of Pikrammenos, who is close to Mitsotakis and has been advising him on legal issues for a long time, was also seen as a symbolic choice, as the former top judge was one of 10 people implicated in an alleged bribery scandal involving the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis, which ND has condemned as an attempt by the previous government to slur political rivals.

One of the few surprises of the cabinet was that another prominent ND MP, Olga Kefalogianni, who had been widely fancied for tourism minister, got no portfolio. The tourism job went to former Potami MP Haris Theoharis who once headed the General Secretariat of Public Revenue.

The new government spokesman is Stelios Petsas, the former director of Mitsotakis’ political office.

The new cabinet is to be sworn in at noon on Tuesday and is scheduled to have its first session at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Meanwhile international reaction to the election of Mitsotakis continued on Monday.

Speaking to journalists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that he hopes Greece and Turkey will embark on a new process based on peaceful solidarity.

The Turkish leader, who spoke on the phone with Mitsotakis on Sunday, expressed hope that there will be no problems between the two countries in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, even though he stood firm with regard to Turkey’s drilling activities off Cyprus and was quoted by Turkish media as saying that “no one can prevent us.” 

Messages of congratulations also continued to pour in on Monday from abroad, including from European Council President Donald Tusk. 

In a letter to Mitsotakis, Tusk said he was confident that “Greece will continue to play a constructive role within the European Union, helping to address the various common challenges, such as the difficult geopolitical environment, illegal migration, climate change and – last but not least – modernizing our economies.” 

The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she is “looking forward to a close and friendly cooperation.”

Asked about Berlin’s expectations of the new government in Greece, Steffen Seibert said that “in principle we do not have any expectations of democratically elected governments in EU member-states and partners.” He also expressed hope that bilateral cooperation “will continue to develop with the same trust and friendship.”