The Dora factor

Reports say the clock on a government reshuffle is ticking. According to sources, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis will take over at Greece’s Foreign Ministry. But in a climate of certainty, it is best to retain some caution. After all, it would not be in the prime minister’s interest to vindicate Bakoyannis’s confidence about taking over at the Foreign Ministry. If Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis finally decides to give Bakoyannis the foreign affairs portfolio, he will be making her an alternative pole within the party with which he will have to negotiate. The two, of course, are basically in competition. But this does not prevent the formation of a temporary alliance. The point is that should Bakoyannis move into the premises on Vassilissis Sofias, she will effectively show she can play the game according to her own rules. The truth is Bakoyannis is easily the most independent pole inside New Democracy. Building on the legacy of her father, former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, Bakoyannis has set up an extensive network that reaches far beyond the conservatives’ limits. However in a political system that is dominated by the prime minister, even Bakoyannis is left with little space to maneuver. Practically, her strength is quite limited. What would her reaction have been had Karamanlis offered her a different post? A denial would no doubt leave egg on her face inside the party. So the decision lies with the prime minister. That does not mean that he fully realizes his room to maneuver. But even if he does, Karamanlis may deem that putting Bakoyannis in charge of the Foreign Ministry could work in his favor too. After all, in politics, as in real life, people do not always know what is best for them – unless in this case there is some unknown factor.

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