NEWS

Reshuffle delayed by phone tappers

The public admission that the prime minister and a number of ministers had their mobile phones tapped for almost a year has led to the temporary shelving of plans for a cabinet reshuffle, with some sources telling Sunday’s Kathimerini that it has been postponed until next month. It was widely thought that Premier Costas Karamanlis was poised to announce a reshuffle last week but had to delay his plans after the government decided to make the phone tapping information public. Some sources suggest the prime minister will go ahead with his plans before he leaves for a visit to Germany on February 15 but others claim the reshuffle will not be announced until the beginning of March. One position that is proving particularly troubling for Karamanlis is that of foreign minister. Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis was being lined up to replace Petros Molyviatis. However, the phone-tapping affair seems to have prompted second thoughts. There was a rise in tension between Greece and the USA after suggestions that Athens had hinted Washington may have been involved in the phone tapping. This arose out of the government’s decision to identify the mobile telephony masts which were used by the eavesdroppers in an area of central Athens where the US Embassy is located. Sources indicate that, consequently, Karamanlis is considering whether a change of foreign minister at the moment might prove counter-productive.