Expectations from the new Cabinet

After a long period of reflection, the conservative prime minister finally picked the members of his new Cabinet for the second half of New Democracy’s tenure. The fact that Costas Karamanlis removed none of the ministers who are charged with implementing the basic policies of the government’s reform program appears to confirm that the reshuffle does not signify any major policy shift. The move is instead aimed at stepping up and smoothing out the government’s work. The prime minister’s decisions on the make-up of the new Cabinet will be evaluated on this from now on. All well-intentioned politicians and voters hope the New Democracy administration will manage to accelerate its performance, that decision making will become more effective, and that cooperation between the different ministries will improve. Greece is faced with many big problems that call for urgent solutions. It cannot afford political idleness and loss of time. The conservative administration has already tackled many challenging problems – not without damage – and it really needed a fresh start. Yesterday’s shake-up contained no surprises. Not all the necessary corrections were made. The changes indicate that the prime minister’s principal goal is to keep a balance between the much-needed changes and equilibrium within the party. There was no attempt to break with the past. Nor did the prime minister seek to promote any new figures at this stage. And once again it was proved that culture ranks very low among the administration’s priorities. Only time will tell whether the new Cabinet will vindicate the decisions of the prime minister, who aspires to wrap up his reform program after putting behind him the fiscal troubles spotlighted by the self-imposed deficit revision.

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