With less than a month to go until crucial European Parliament and local authority elections, the government is planning to focus its campaign on signs that the economy is gradually improving but Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is also said to be drafting a reshuffle that will see see Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras taking the top spot at the central bank after the polls.
The prospect for a launch of talks on a lightening of Greece’s debt burden is expected to be discussed at a scheduled summit of eurozone finance ministers on May 5. With the European Commission’s confirmation last week of Greece’s projected primary surplus, the debate on much-desired debt relief can begin, in accordance with a decision taken by eurozone officials in November 2012 – a fact expected to feature prominently in the government’s pre-election campaign.
Stournaras, who has spearheaded Greece’s economic reforms and coordinated tough talks with the troika for two years, is expected to represent Greece for the last time in his current term as finance minister at the Eurogroup summit next Monday. But the state official pegged to replace him – Stavros Papastavrou, a close adviser to Samaras – is not expected to take over until after the elections on May 25.
The planned reshuffle, which could come as late as mid-June, when the term of the current Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos expires, is expected to include several other key moves aimed at revamping the government.
According to sources, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is overseeing a troika-imposed overhaul of the civil service, and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, who has been supervising the lifting of restrictions in dozens of professions, are expected to keep their posts. Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias and Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis are virtually certain to remain in the government with a possible promotion, while Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos is among those rumored to be facing dismissal. Former PASOK ministers Andreas Loverdos and Filippos Sachinidis are likely to feature in the new cabinet, sources said.