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Tsipras's next moves

21 September 2015 / 18:09:10  GRReporter
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SYRIZA's leader Alexis Tsipras, who yesterday won Greece's snap elections, will be given a mandate to form a cabinet this afternoon. Shortly afterwards, probably about 8 pm, he will be sworn in as the new prime minister of Greece.

The negotiations on the new cabinet are currently in full swing, with the new ministers expected to take oath tomorrow. The government will again be a coalition between SYRIZA as the Radical Left and the far right-leaning Independent Greeks, who came into parliament with 3.69% of the votes and got 10 seats. Tsipras's statements last night made it clear there is 'camaraderie' between him and their leader Panos Kamenos.

It seems that many of the ministers in the former government will end up on top of the same departments. This applies to former state minister Nikos Pappas, former productive reconstruction, environment and energy minister Panos Skourletis, former interior minister Nikos Voutsis and former economy minister Georgios Stathakis. Former employment minister Georgios Katrougalos might also return to his post. According to other sources, he might on the other hand be minister of state.

Although some media reported that caretaker finance minister Giorgos Chouliarakis might occupy the same post in the new cabinet, SYRIZA have indicated this might only happen if the previous finance minister Efklidis Tsakalotos rejected the offer to return to the department. Otherwise, "no one will budge him," said the headquarters of the Radical Left.

Former minister of state and government coordinator Alekos Flambouraris, who was charged with corruption, is expected to feature again in Tsipras' closest policy-making circle. Those who will reoccupy their seats will probably include the former minister of foreign affairs, Nikos Kodzias, of shipping, Theodoros Dritsas, of justice, Nikos Paraskevopoulos, of sports, Stavros Kontonis, of health, Panagiotis Kouroublis, of culture, Nikos Ksidakis, former government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili and others.

The sitting migration minister Yannis Mouzalas is expected to retain his post. It is not yet clear whether his predecessor Tasia Christodoulopoulou, who stirred up a lot of controversy for her management of the migrant influx, will participate in the new cabinet.

There is no clarity about who will head the ministry for citizen protection and public order, given the intense pressure inside SYRIZA for the removal of Yannis Panousis, the previous minister, from the post.

Former deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy Yannis Dragasakis is likely to be nominated as speaker of the parliament. Nikos Voutsis is also slated for this post.

No substantial changes are expected in the Independent Greeks's corner. Their leader Panos Kamenos will probably return at the head of the defence ministry, Elena Kountoura – to the ministry of tourism, and Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha – to the ministry for Macedonia and Thrace.

According to sources, no sooner had Alexis Tsipras learned about his victory last night than he suggested to PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata mutual support in parliament on various issues. But her reply was that "the conditions are not suitable for such cooperation", and that her party has chosen for itself the role of "creative opposition."

The leader of the Democratic Left, Athanasios Teocharopoulos, was more positive in terms of future cooperation. The party ran at the elections in coalition with PASOK and managed to put Mr. Teocharopoulos in parliament.

The noises coming from Potami regarding a possible parliamentary cooperation with SYRIZA and Independent Greeks are not too encouraging. Late last night, the party leader, Stavros Theodorakis, congratulated Tsipras on his victory in writing, but their talks have reportedly so far failed to produce any promising results.

At any rate, Alexis Tsipras will seek support from all political corners on the issue of debt settlement. He is also expected to set up a National Council on European affairs and foreign policy, with representatives of all parliamentary forces.

Immediately after the process envisaged in the national constitution is completed, the new Greek prime minister will begin his work by participating in the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on the management of the refugee influx into Europe. He will represent the Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades, as well since the latter is on an official visit to the US.

On Sunday, Alexis Tsipras will attend the UN General Assembly in New York. It is likely that he will meet President Barack Obama informally.

Tags: Politics Alexis Tsipras new government coalition with Independent Greeks the cabinet the opposition
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