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Greece’s Church and Lenders are the winners in Tsipras’ government reshuffle

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proceeded to the much awaited government reshuffle late Friday evening. with reshuffling the cabinet, the Greek PM aims to speed up reforms needed for the second program review but also to boost popularity of the government, see left-wing Syriza and nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL).

Tsipras kept some ministers in their old posts -like FinMin Tsakalotos, FM Kotzias, DefMin Kammenos, Migrationa Mouzalas, Tourism Kountoura, Transportation Spirtzis- , switched others and brought also 14 new persons.

Nikos Filis – Education

But the most sound replacement was that of Education and Religion Minister Nikos Filis who is out of the new cabinet.

Filis lost his post just three days after the Archbishop of Athens, Ieronymous, attacked him during a television interview.

According to some media reporting on the background negotiation between Tsipras and Filis before the reshuffle, the Prime Minister asked him to “either cut some of his responsibilities on Religious matters or accept a post in another ministry.” Filis rejected both offers.

Filis earned the praises of progressive Greeks when proposed that the classes in teaching Greek Orthodoxy in schools be replaced by Religion as Science. This proposal had the powerful Greek Church see red. Tsipras obviously decided that good relations with Church are more important than a open-minded minister.

Tryfon Alexiadis – Taxes

Deputy finance minister Tryfon Alexiadis has no place in the new cabinet. The man in charge of taxation and combating tax evasion was obviously found to have not fulfilled the assigned duties with success. Apart from having created a mess in the tax offices with the effect that honest taxpayers get eternally trapped in the bureaucracy and did not manage to crack the illegal fuel trade or to proceed with investigation of potential tax evaders on the famous Lagarde and Borjens lists.

Other replacements

Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas was replaced by Panagiotis Kouroublis, currently the interior minister. The shipping ministry oversees the privatization of Greek ports.

The head of Greece’s privatization agency (TAIPED), Stergios Pitsiorlas, was named deputy economy minister.

Energy Minister Panos Skourletis was moved to the Interior Ministry. He was openly opposing some privatizations.

Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos, who brought millions of pensioners against the government with the cuts in supplementary pensions was moved to the Foreign Ministry as deputy FM. He is replace by Efi Ahtsioglou, 31, who will have to please creditors with labor reforms.

via @dgatopoulos
The new cabinet has 41 men and 8 women.
Options for a religious or political oath for the new ministers at a ceremony Saturday noon.
BTW none should have the illusion that ministers act independently and do not apply government policies…. It’s just that when an intended policy fails or backfires, the minister is replaced while the Prime Minister & those around him try something new.

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  1. costa sakellariou

    goat-priests…it doesn’t quite translate into english, does it?

  2. This happens just before Obama and -probably Nuland- will visit Greece next week where Obama will hold “a legacy speech” and after Pyatt (who was US ambassador to Ukraine) was appointed. See ekathimerimi for possible content of his legacy speech.

  3. Little Alex rearranged his pets in the animal farm. Big deal!
    Mummy Merkel is excited, however.