Elena Panariti, an economist, was appointed by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to represent Greece at the International Monetary Fund. Panariti’s choice followed a voting at the Finance Ministry. She has apparently had the best CV among the other candidates, she had the best skills for this position. In terms of skills she was maybe OK, but politically? Not so good! In fact, not so good at all!. Her appointment triggered waves of outrage among SYRIZA ministers and high ranking party officials.
Who is Elena Panariti?
Elena Panariti came to PASOK apparently out of the blue together with George Papandreou. She was a PASOK MP (2009-2012) under Papandreou’s government, together with Yanis Vaorufakis she was part of Papandreou’s economic team.
So, what the problem one may ask? SYRIZA has also a number of other ex PASOK MPs and Varoufakis.
With a decade-long work experience at the World Bank and having voted in favor of two Memorandum of Understanding, the majority of her critics consider her as “representative of the elites of the financial institutions.” A pro-austerity supporter to say it short and clear.
She was also a member of new Greek government’s negotiation team in the Brussels Group until middle March, until she her first grade gaffe in which she revealed creditors’ demands to Greece to “stop paying salaries and pensions for 1-2 months if it had liquidity problems.” Panariti was removed from the negotiations team in zero time.
Varoufakis to resign over Panariti?
No wonder that with this background and her appointment to the IMF triggered a storm of reactions, an outrage among SYRIZA lawmakers – ex PASOK MPs incl – and high-ranking party officials and even government ministers. One after the other, the SYRIZA officials took position against Panariti’s appointment and asked Varoufakis to reverse his decision.
Varoufakis refused to do so. Soon rumors made the rounds that the gap between the government in general and the Prime Minister in particular on one side and FinMin Vavourakis on the other was huge and that Varoufakis was being pushed to resignation.
Sunday noon, Varoufakis replied to rumors saying:
Rumours of my impending resignation are (for the umpteenth time) grossly premature…
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) May 31, 2015
According to media, Elena Panariti took offense from the strong reactions reactions and she allegedly commented : “If they don’t want me once, I don’t want them 10 times.”
SYRIZA lawmakers are reportedly collecting signatures to cancel her appointment.
PS From Varoufakis Tweet we keep in mind only one word: “premature” and ask for further definition: when is “mature”?