Changes of guard bring few benefits

In the main, government reshuffles are generally of greater concern to parliamentary deputies than to the public they ostensibly benefit. A quick review of the reshuffles in this country over the past few years does not bring to mind any remarkable changes. The most impressive have been those that were triggered by unexpected crises (such as the Ocalan fiasco) or by some real or rumored political scandal which obliged the prime minister of the time to change the political leadership at some ministry or other, mostly in order to address public dissatisfaction. Excepting instances of «rebalancing» in certain ministries or suspensions of high figures who were found to have committed massive blunders and whose continued presence in their post would provoke criticism or ridicule, most changes of guard did not result in the adoption of a new course in that area of government activity and did not provoke any revision of government policy at the initiative of the newly appointed official. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is very aware – as were his predecessors – that a Cabinet reshuffle serves to improve the government’s image, especially in certain sectors where those in charge have either been inefficient or prone to controversy with their public behavior or statements. After all, politics is exercised and expressed by those who serve it, individuals who can be corrupted or exhausted in their posts. In any case, politics is always judged by results. Good intentions are all very well, but they are not enough. What counts is what is served up at the end, which solutions are found for crucial problems and what citizens gain, in practical terms, from government policy.

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