NEWS

Cabinet reshuffle seen as limited, subtle

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The cabinet reshuffle, speculated about for over a month and finally announced on Monday was not radical but there was a subtle movement, especially at the deputy minister level, away from unelected technocrats toward New Democracy MPs.

The two main victims of the reshuffle were Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos and Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis. Kathimerini understands that the first, a former pollster long close to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, faced criticism for trying to treat the ministry as a personal fiefdom, while Vroutsis bore the brunt for some costly mistakes that forced Mitsotakis to intervene to restore the government’s image. Vroutsis became leader of the ruling party’s parliamentary group and declared himself “honored” by the prime minister’s choice.

Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis, who, like Vroutsis, faced criticism, retained his post because he tried to correct his mistakes, Kathimerini was told.

Two ministers changed portfolios to replace the two departed ones: former agriculture minister Makis Voridis became interior minister, which is considered an upgrade, and Kostis Hatzidakis, previously energy and environment minister, replaced Vroutsis at the Labor Ministry, a change seen at best as a sideways move to a more politically sensitive portfolio.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Kostas Skrekas replaced Hatzidakis as energy and environment minister, while Spilios Livanos, a political dynasty scion considered, like his former high school classmate the prime minister, as a moderate-to-liberal within the ruling party, has become agriculture minister.

Sixteen ministers, including those in charge of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Citizens’ Protection did not change portfolios.

The several changes at deputy minister level were an exercise in subtly balancing between moderates and more traditional conservatives, including a few hardliners. Of some note is the appointment of Sofia Voultepsi, a vocal critic of mass migration in the past, as deputy minister of migration and asylum to the more moderate Minister Notis Mitarakis, who retained his post.

Also notable is the appointment of a new government spokesman. Christos Tarantilis, a new lawmaker and a professor of management science at the University of Athens, replaces Stelios Petsas, who becomes deputy interior minister.