OPINION

Power and responsibility

You cannot judge a Cabinet reshuffle by the individuals who have left the government or those who have been appointed in their place. The success of a government depends on the teamwork and smooth coordination among the different members. For that reason, the main responsibility of the prime minister, who has the power to hire and fire his ministers, is the direction and coordination of the government’s work. In light of this, regular shake-ups are no alibi for a prime minister. In fact, they test his ability to pick the most suitable aides and then provide them with the best possible guidance. A sweeping reshuffle in that sense only exposes a premier’s lack of leadership. The limited depth of yesterday’s shake-up, which has come halfway through the conservatives’ four-year tenure, confirmed that Costas Karamanlis is not a fan of regular or big changes in the administration. Moreover, it showed that the conservative leader avoids passing the buck for mistakes and omissions onto his close aides. They are given all the time they need to prepare themselves and to carry out assigned tasks. The timing of the reshuffle is neither dictated by inner-party criteria, such as seniority or regional representation, nor by personal tactics and objectives. There is little doubt that Karamanlis likes to see a system where power lies with the prime minister, i.e. himself. Accordingly, responsibility is not spread out among government aides but falls exclusively on his shoulders. In politics, of course, what matters is action – not words and good intentions. As of today, Greek citizens will be called upon to judge if the «new» government is better coordinated and more effective than the one it replaced.