PM-driven government

The way Premier-elect Costas Karamanlis went about selecting the new Cabinet confirms speculation after New Democracy’s landslide victory in the national election. That is, the conservative leader feels and is under no pressure to make any compromises. The makeup of the new Cabinet was a product of his own decisions while conservative ministers were left with no room to bargain their duties and were reduced to being informed of their new roles. Moreover, it appears that Karamanlis had long since made up his mind over the basic outlines of his Cabinet and, in many cases, over the figures that would be included in it. Yet no one in the party knew anything about the results until yesterday afternoon. This fact foreshadows a New Democracy’s government that will be centered around the prime minister. This administrative model was, no doubt, introduced by the late Constantine Karamanlis (the current leader’s uncle) and does not necessarily suggest a political leader having a strong grip over his party. Late Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, for example, was himself the unquestioned leader inside PASOK; nevertheless his famous remark that he was «merely in charge» was indicative of an attempt to combine his hegemonic status with the individual and collective responsibility of Cabinet members in the event of errors or failure. On the other hand, and according to the pattern established by New Democracy’s founder, a PM-driven model means that the head of government bears full responsibility for the work, ethos and political demeanor of his ministers and the functionaries of the state apparatus. This is clearly the way Karamanlis perceives his role. And he is determined to see it through in the same way.

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