OPINION

Reshuffle puts PM back in driving seat

The first government reshuffle to be undertaken by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was very much «in character» – lacking any major surprises and based upon the government’s long-term aims rather than any in-party pressures. The reshuffle is significant because it marks the end of a convenient practice of «blame it on PASOK.» From now on «the previous government» is New Democracy’s, and Karamanlis is very much aware of this. Indeed, the PM may have had many opportunities to raise the profile of his government of late (with the reshuffle and his visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin) but he only has two years left in which to achieve his goals. Still he appears to have taken firm control of his government. The choice of Dimitris Avramopoulos as health minister was anything but a random choice. As a man who has succeeded in every post to which he has been assigned, a mayor who brought a new attitude to the job and a minister who radically changed our tourism sector, Avramopoulos is the obvious choice for an important post. The task of former public order minister Giorgos Voulgarakis in his new role as culture minister will not be an easy one. Culture is a «heavy industry» in Greece, not a sector governed by cliques who are tolerated by the ministry. Fanni Palli-Petralia will have no trouble with the tourism portfolio which has been well prepared for her by her predecessor. As for Dora Bakoyannis’s appointment as foreign minister, this will be discussed for a long time yet. She is likely to become a point of reference for the media, whether she gives them reason or not.