Cabinet reshuffle ruled out

There is no prospect of Prime Minister George Papandreou conducting a Cabinet reshuffle soon, the government insisted yesterday as one minister was forced to deny she was resigning and a replacement was named for the outgoing deputy tourism and culture minister. «There is no prospect of a reshuffle,» government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis said yesterday in a bid to quash the speculation that had been building up over the last few days. «The role of the deputy tourism minister has been filled and there is no need for any reshuffle.» The government named Dodecanese MP Giorgos Nikitiadis as the replacement for Angela Gerekou, who resigned on Monday after it emerged that her husband owed 5.5 million euros in taxes. The appointment came in a fraught atmosphere within the government, exemplified by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou’s decision to issue a written rebuttal to claims on a blog that she was about to step down. Diamantopoulou accused some journalists of «scaremongering» and called on their union to take action against them. «I recognize some people have to attract readers, listeners and viewers but there must be a limit,» said Petalotis. «Whoever has information about a politician should produce it. The spreading of rumors harms the state and society.» The economic crisis and the unpopularity of the measures that the government has adopted after agreeing a 110-billion-euro rescue package with its eurozone counterparts and the International Monetary Fund have caused a number of cracks to appear within PASOK. Out of the public eye, a number of ministers have begun questioning each other’s ability. Meanwhile, the MPs sitting on the committee investigating a real estate swap between the Vatopedi Monastery and the state met yesterday to ascertain whether they shared any common ground. Just as in the case of the first probe two years ago, it appears that each party will arrive at a different conclusion.

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