Kathimerini Reports Of An Imminent Greek Cabinet Reshuffle, Finance Minister Likely To Be Ousted

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It appears that "Goldman employee of the decade", Greek Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou's days in parliament may be numbered. According to Greek daily Kathimerini, following the commencing of the Troica's midterm fiscal plan review by the parliament tomorrow, there could be a substantial reshuffling in the Greek cabinet: "Prime Minister George Papandreou will soon conduct a Cabinet
reshuffle but has not yet decided if it will be before or after the
government’s medium-term fiscal plan is voted through Parliament,
sources told Kathimerini. From the website: "The two options being discussed by
Papandreou and his closest advisers are either to shakeup his team of
ministers as soon as possible, possibly even as early as this week, or
to make changes to his Cabinet after the government’s economic proposals
have been debated and voted on in Parliament. This would mean that the
reshuffle would happen in early July." While there are risks that the vote on the IMF-imposed fiscal plan may fail, this appears to not be a big concern in Greece currently: "Papandreou and his aides
appear confident that PASOK MPs will not scupper the midterm fiscal plan
in Parliament. The government has a six-seat majority and while it is
expected that one or two deputies might vote against the proposals,
which include further cuts to public spending and more tax hikes, there
will not be a large rebellion." Yet, several high profile pink slips are expected: "It
is expected that one of the casualties of the reshuffle will be Finance
Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who has been severely criticized by
PASOK deputies in recent weeks, both because of the measures he has
adopted and due to claims that he has failed to consult with them." Of course, all of this ignores the popular mood which so far has been peaceful, although it may all come to a head during tomorrow's major strike and Parliament blockade. We hope to webcast from Athens as soon as practical.

More from Kathimerini:

The passage of the fiscal plan through Parliament will mark a crucial few days for the government. A parliamentary committee is due to begin reviewing the bill tomorrow. This process will last until the end of the week and the committee is due to sit again for a second review a week later. The draft law is likely to be submitted in Parliament on June 27 or 28 before a vote on June 30. It is possible that the vote will be delayed by a week.

It is expected that one of the casualties of the reshuffle will be Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who has been severely criticized by PASOK deputies in recent weeks, both because of the measures he has adopted and due to claims that he has failed to consult with them.

A number of people have been linked to the role of finance minister, including the former vice president of the European Central Bank Lucas Papademos, who has recently been acting as an informal adviser to Papandreou. However, sources suggested that the prime minister might opt to place one of the government’s better communicators in the post, which could mean either Regional Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis or Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou taking over.

In an interview with Sunday’s To Vima newspaper, Papandreou said he was open to the idea of bringing people with “wide appeal” into the government, suggesting that he may look to recruit ministers from outside of his party.