Greek cabinet reform

Photo credits: The Guardian
Photo credits: The Guardian

Recent actions by the Greek Prime Minister, Antonios Samaras, who reshuffled his cabinet, highlight that the road to the exit of the crisis is the main destination that Greek government is obliged to follow, and will not let any factor affect this commitment. Of course, the closure of the state broadcaster ERT, contributed in a very high level to this decision, due to the internal and external consequences that this action will have on the country .

The collapse of the government was, however, avoided without a doubt and this is important, at this crucial time, for Greek recovery. Elections would imply negative implications in Greece, and consequently in the EU and the eurozone. A delicate balance has been maintained in Greece the last months and the preservation of this balance is amongst the top priorities of the government. As the PM said ‘’today, stability is more necessary than ever.’’

Everything started last week, when Junior member of the Democratic Left, Dimokratiki Aristera, pulled out of the coalition, leaving Samaras with a thin and ‘’flowable’’ majority in parliament, controlling 153 of the 300 seats. The departure of this small party from the government last week represented a heavy blow to Samaras’s coalition. For this reason, days after the smallest party in the ruling coalition quit over the closure of state TV, Samaras made his move in order to save his government. He did not hasitate to make concessions, after strenuous deliberations, with the Socialist Party leader Evangelos Venizelos, who has seen his party’s popularity in decline and who was named deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (while the outgoing foreign minister, Dimitrios Avramopoulos, moved to the Ministry of Defense). New ministers were also appointed for the posts of justice, administrative reform, transport and defense, amongst others, while Finance Minister, Yannis Stournaras, remained in the position.

It has to be underlined, however, that Samaras’ government couldn’t survive without the contribution of the PASOK party, the second party of the coalition government. The cabinet reform is important for three, at least, reasons. Firstly, elections, that would delay the implementation of the stability programme in Greece, have now been avoided. Secondly, the government showed willingness to cooperate in order to find an exit to the crisis, and this is evident by the positions given to the second party of the coalition, within the cabinet . Lastly, this action restored the aggravated relations not only with the citizens, but also with the parliament, at an important level.

Moreover, there is a crucial reason that contributed to this ‘’reform’’. Greece has to pursue the ‘’troika’’ of the IMF, the European Uninon and the European Central Bank, and demonstrate that its government has the capacity to adjust its policies in order be able to receive the loans and exit the crisis. As mentioned before, the results of the national broadcaster closure could be negative for the desired stability of the country, as it was interpreted by a grand pleiade of the citizens as an illegal and non-democratic action, by the part of the government. Having said that, last week The High Court ruled that it was the government’s right to close ERT, but it was illegal to shut down the signal. For these reasons this recent ‘’cabinet reform’’ was a true necessity.

This does not mark the beginning of a new era in Greece, but the foundations for a better future of the country have been laid down. Now, the government has to ensure people that it will carry out the measures that have been proposed in order to exit the crisis and ameliorate the lives of its citizens. Greece has sacrificed many things for this purpose and the people’s expectations are concentrated on this, something that the government should bear in mind, before taking any decision. The only thing that the Greek people can wait for is a good result at the end of this arduous road and if this doesn’t happen, the consequences will be worse than ever.

Fotios Stravoravdis.

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