PM poised to conduct a minor reshuffle

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was on Tuesday poised to conduct a mini-reshuffle, with Michalis Chrysochoidis set to move from the Development Ministry to that of Citizens’ Protection, filling a post vacated by Christos Papoutsis, and Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou expected to assume the development spot.

According to sources, Chrysochoidis, who has held the public order portfolio twice before, is not keen to return to the same post. But Papademos is eager to have a competent individual in charge of public order following the resurgence of fears of domestic terrorism after the discovery of a bomb on the metro last month.

Diamantopoulou is expected to be replaced as education minister by her deputy Constantinos Arvanitopoulos.

Meanwhile, political maneuvering was afoot in both main parties ahead of scheduled summits this weekend and looming early elections. Many cadres in conservative New Democracy sought to douse speculation about ND having to cooperate with other parties if it fails to gain an absolute majority in polls, while efforts were under way to extend the party’s influence at both ends of the spectrum.

Senior ND official Andreas Lykourentzos insisted that “ND will get a majority,” while Michalis Papadopoulos said he would “be more able to cooperate with KKE than with PASOK,” referring to the Communist and Socialist parties respectively. Kyriakos Mitsotakis was more measured, noting that “if we have to cooperate, we will cooperate.”

Several PASOK ministers also called for cooperation, notably Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, who said joining forces with Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of the increasingly popular Democratic Left, would be “ideal for our political profile.” 

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