Posts tagged ‘new Greek government’

Something old, nothing new, all borrowed, all blue… The song of the new Greek government

After a week of rumours about reshuffling, after ousting its only progressive alibi (the Democratic Left of Mr. Fotis Kouvelis), after the failure of privatisation (selling off for the opposition) of various state companies, after the notorious mishandling of the ERT reorganisation Mr. Samaras announced the composition of his new government.

The “new” government, which was sworn in at noon, is the epitome of irony. It is made up of the two parties that led Greece in the post – dictatorship era and have singlehandedly managed to turn it into the bankrupt state it is today. New Democracy and PASOK promise to show Greece the way out of the chaos they have created!!

A quick look at the political personalities involved is enough to cause instant depression to any logical person: Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, PASOK chairman, appointed deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, has served in ministerial positions in the majority of the PASOK governments. His name is involved with the Lagarde list scandal since he was the Minister of Finance to succeed chief suspect Mr. Papaconstantinou. Mr. Mihalis Chrisohoides, who has also served as Minister of National Security, heads a new ministry and together with another 8 high profile PASOK leading personalities provides the “green” of the government.

The very “blue” background is provided by all the rest with Mr. Dendias, of the “xenios zeus” project, carrying on as Minister of Citizen Protection(!), the much criticised Mr. Stournaras unmovable in the Economy Ministry while Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, a recruit from Mr. Karatzaferis’Orthodox Rally, appointed Minister of Health to the delight of cartoonists and satirists…

Ms. Fofi Gennimatas is the daughter of a prominent and popular PASOK leading figure – she is now deputy Minister. Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, son of former Prime Minister Kostas Mitsotakis, is the new Minister of Social Reform. Mr. Pantelis Kapsis, new Minister for the state radio -television company, is a prominent journalist and the son of a PASOK former minister. Mr. Kapsis has held a high position in the Lambrakis publishing group and was the spokesperson of the Papadimos government. Mr. Varvitsiotis, new Minister of Marine, is the son of a former New Democracy Minister. Family tradition is strong in Greece.

At the same time Greek society was shocked to hear of the bankruptsy of one more company considered “healthy” . The Katselis bakeries filed for bankruptsy leaving another 480 people unemployed!!

The new government has very little time to perform the required reforms and it is my view that it has neither the ability nor the will. We shall see.

New Greek government – something old, something new, mostly blue

A new government, largely composed of New Democracy politicians with a sprinkle – literally- of PASOK and Democratic Left influence, was announced on Thursday and the swearing in ceremony will take place today.
The reactions are still lukewarm since everybody is waiting for the government’s programmatic commitments.
Here are the names with as much information as I thought would help us to understand the identity of this government. Firstly, let us notice the number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers etc: the ministerial council is made up of 39 people with only two women among them. The size of this government has already been criticized as too large,too masculine and too much to the right.
Mr.Antonis Manitakis, well known and respected professor, very close to the Democratic Left, is the new Minister of Administrative Reform and electronic governance. Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights is Mr Roupakiotis, also of the Democratic Left, well known lawyer who has served as chairman of the Athens ‘Lawyers Association.
Mr. Vassilis Repanos, one of the PASOK favourites, is the new Finance Minister.
Mr. Athanassios Tsaftaris is the second PASOK influence and heads the Agricultural Development and Foodstuffs Ministry.
All others are connected to New Democracy or belong to its sphere of influence.
Mr.Dimitris Avramopoulos – Foreign Affairs Minister
Mr.Euripides Stylianoudis – Interior Affairs Minister
Mr.Panos Panayotopoulos – Defense Minister
Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, ministry of Development, Transport and Networks.
Mr.Kostas Mousouroulis, Maritime and Aegean Minister
Mr. Evangelos Livieratos, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
Mr. Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos Education Minister
Mr. Yiannis Vroutsis, Labour and Social Security Minister
Mr. Andreas Lykourentzos, Health and Social Solidarity Minister
Mr. Nikos Dendias, Public Order Minister
Ms Olga Kefaloyianni, Tourism MinisterΥπουργείο Τουρισμού
Mr. Theodoros Karaoglou, Minister of Thrace and Macedonia.
Finally, Mr. Simos Kedikoglou has been appointed Government spokesman.

Leaders’meeting bears “bitter” fruit

Mr.Panayotis Pikramenos, Head of the State Council, whose name in Greek means “embittered”, has been appointed caretaker Prime Minister till  new elections on June 17.

Mr. Panayotis Pikrammenos

The decision for the new elections was reached on the 15th of May after all efforts to form a government failed. There is a bitter struggle going on among the political parties to blame each other for this failure and especially SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left). The mood of the Greek citizens, tired of the fruitless austerity measures, humiliated by the attitude of its European partners, living in a state of fear craftily cultivated by government circles is impatient and changeable. The results of the May 6 elections have shaken the two parties that have governed Greece for the last 30 years. Three opinion polls that have been published in the last week all show that SYRIZA will be the big winner of the new elections but whether we shall have a government is still uncertain. SYRIZA has made it clear that it aims for a left wing government, a difficult task since the Communist Party of Greece has refused point blanc to take part in government and the other left wing formations do not have the necessary parliamentary power.

The day after in Greece – an indescribable government presenting a déjà vu programme

Today, Monday 14 November 2011, a new act opens in the Greek tragicomedy. Mr. Lucas Papademos’new government is presenting its programme in Parliament in a few minutes. At the same time, several unions, supported by left wing forces and parties, are demonstrating in Syntagma Square.

The whole Sunday we have been bombarded by opinion polls: the Greek people’s acceptance of the new government ranges, according to the dominant mass media, from 75 to 80%. This percentage can be interpreted in many ways: the Greek public is exhausted by the policies of PASOK and expects something better from a new Prime Minister, who is an acknowledged and capable economist. Unfortunately, in this euphoria they forget that the “new government” is anything but new, that the austerity measures have been agreed and will be enforced, that new cuts are constantly announced and that unemployment is galloping. There is a section of the population, those who have been worst hit, who are doubtful but still want to hope. On the other hand, one must keep in mind that the propaganda machine of the ruling forces is working overtime to give the austerity measures a “face lift”.


The new government’s perspectives


PASOK seems to be the only winner in this situation: It has managed to make its main opponent (New Democracy)  part of the crisis by its participation in the interim government.  The new government will ratify the harsh austerity measures Mr. Papandreou agreed to and will therefore take a part of the blame. The 6th installment of the loan will be delivered and elections have been postponed till mid February.


A further proof of the PASOK adventurism is the inclusion of LAOS in this “new” government. This move “legitimizes” to the eyes of the people a xenophobic, fascist prone party. The repercussions of this decision may be graver than is now estimated.


The big losers are the Greek working people whose voice is utterly drowned. The ousting of Mr.Papandreou has satisfied the feelings of betrayal but in the long run will not be of much use since the policies will not change.

The only visible solution is national elections the soonest possible and under a new electoral law that will allow a change in the balance of powers. This change is necessary in order to change the policies implemented.

Waiting for Godot in modern Greece

Greeks are very fond of the theatre. Athens, in this economic crisis, has an incredible number of theaters, most of them doing well.

This last week we are all taking part in a theatre of the absurd performance. We have a non-existing government, it took us three days to find a Prime Minister and, the worst of all is that we know that Mr. Papadimos can do very little for us.

Like Beckett’s heroes we are waiting for a savior that we know will not come. We are waiting for an ex-machina god that we know is not coming and even if he comes the Greek people are certain that it will mean very little for their daily lives. The conversations in the buses, in the shops, in restaurants are all about how we are going to pay this and that tax, how much our pensions/salaries have shrunk, how we can feed our family on European prices and third world salaries.

Greek politicians have lost their credibility. Mr. Papadimos opened his first statement as a Prime Minister with the sentence : “I am no politician”. It was meant to pacify the Greek public and reassure us.

Last night we heard that the new Ministers would be announced today at 14.00. This morning we were told that they will be announced at 16.00. In the end, who cares?

Solidarity and cooperation among the working people, the unemployed, the youth, the student body is the only way out. We are striving to keep our humanity and our common sense intact in difficult times.

Mr. L.Papademos front runner in the quest for a Greek Prime Minister

At midnight, the time ghosts start roaming, Mr. Papandreou called Mr. Samaras and suggested Mr. Lucas Papademos as the Prime Minister to head the coalition, salvation or transitional government still to be formed. According to news reports Mr. Papandreou contacted Mr. Papademos who accepted the nomination under certain conditions. Then Mr.Papandreou spoke with Mr. Samaras and the outcome was that Mr.Samaras will speak directly with Mr. Papademos to discuss the terms.

Mr. Papademos asked that the new government states unequivocably its acceptance of the October agreement, that New Democracy leading personalities take part in the government and that the elections day should be more flexible, by about a fortnight, if necessary. On the other hand, he also stated that he has no problem with the present personnel of the Finance Ministry carrying on.

Mr.L.Papademos’name had been mentioned before from journalists and according to a leak from the PASOK side his candidacy had been rejected by the New Democracy leadership. This leak was vehemently denounced by the New Democracy but it is a sign of what kind of “co-operation” we can expect.

Greek government still pending

After repeated failures it was announced at the nine o’clock news that discussions will be resumed tomorrow between the leaders of PASOK and New Democracy. Journalists, claiming various “sources” mentioned the names of Mr. Papadimos, who flatly stated that he had not been approached, then Dr. Vassilis Skouris’name was withdrawn. Parliament Chairman Philipos Petsalnikos was, apparently, vetoed by the New Democracy MPs.

The best comment I read was posted by a friend on Facebook: “I prefer Greece without a government. It is the first week this year that no new tax was imposed and no more pension cuts were made”.