PM meets Papoulias, reshuffle plan denied

The prime minister yesterday met with Karolos Papoulias, his handpicked candidate for the presidency, while the government said the decision would aid the country’s economy and denied a reshuffle was imminent. Costas Karamanlis and the former PASOK foreign minister met for 45 minutes at Maximos Mansion – their first meeting since Karamanlis nominated Papoulias on Sunday as his party’s candidate to replace President Costis Stephanopoulos in March. «We discussed many issues in a friendly climate and from here on I really believe we will always be in this consensual mood,» said Papoulias after the meeting. After an Inner Cabinet session, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said Papoulias’s nomination was a «strategic choice» which would help the economy. «It is good for politics and the economy that this speculation has stopped,» Sioufas said. A VPRC poll for Skai radio made public yesterday shows that 8 in 10 Greeks questioned approved the choice of Papoulias as President. Meanwhile, the government denied rumors about a possible cabinet reshuffle. «There is no reshuffle issue,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. «There should not be frequent reshuffles. I do not think nine or 10 months are enough to judge a minister,» said Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. Sources close to Karamanlis told Kathimerini that a reshuffle is unlikely but there may be some minor cabinet adjustments after the parliamentary vote on the presidency in February. PASOK announced it was moving its party conference from January 27 to March 3. Socialist leader Giorgos Papandreou said he did not want the meeting to be overshadowed by the presidential vote.