PM facing reshuffle dilemmas

The details of a Cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to take place within the next few days, are currently being ironed out by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, according to sources close to the premier. Sources said yesterday that one of the major dilemmas that Karamanlis is facing is how extensive the reshuffle should be, as he wants to make changes that will bring results for his government but that also help to boost the ruling conservatives’ popularity. Karamanlis had wanted to conduct his reshuffle in February, in order for it to come at the end of a reforms package which is to include the privatization of Olympic Airlines and would allow his government to make a fresh start. However this appears highly unlikely, especially as ministers have now begun to discuss the reshuffle publicly. For example, aides to Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, who met with Karamanlis yesterday, expressed doubts as to whether their boss would still be in the job following the reshuffle. Karamanlis also risks doing further damage to his party’s popularity if he delays the reshuffle as his government appears to be on hold, waiting for the changes to be announced. The lack of initiative is worrying some party members. For example, the Development Ministry’s failure to get involved in the debate over whether stores should have opened last Sunday angered some high-ranking ND officials, according to sources. Karamanlis took a brief break yesterday from pondering the reshuffle to meet with outgoing Russian Ambassador Andrey Vdovin, who is leaving Greece after serving here for five years. Vdovin is being replaced by Vladimir Chkhikvishvili, who served as ambassador to Georgia between 2002 and 2006.

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