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Interior Minister voted SYRIZA secretary, Tsipras’ cabinet reshuffle imminent

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis was elected new SYRIZA central committee general secretary on Monday night. With 126 YES votes and 18 ‘blank’, the 144 delegates opened the door for the long anticipated government reshuffle.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is poised to announce a cabinet reshuffle this week to freshen up a government lagging in the polls as the effects of painful bailouts still bite a year before a national election.

The government reshuffle will not be wide-ranging, government sources told reuters.

But the government needed to “renew itself before the next election”, the source said.

Greece holds parliamentary elections every four years, with the next expected by October 2019 at the latest.

Based on the latest three opinion polls conducted by Greek media, Syriza is trailing the main opposition New Democracy conservatives by between 5.3 and 11.6 percentage points.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who steered the country’s exit from the third bailout, was likely to remain in his post, sources said.

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, instrumental in brokering an accord ending years of dispute with Macedonia over its name, was also expected to stay on board.

Panos Skourletis, a Syriza stalwart who is presently interior minister, was widely speculated to be moving to a senior role within the party and out of the cabinet.

“Changes would make the party more effective and grounded, while the reshuffle should deliver a government ready for battle,” another government source said.

According to Greek media,  the Prime Minister wants some “young members” in the cabinet to signal that the government is really renewing itself.

However, there has been also speculation that Tsipras plans to hold two members from KINAL, the Movement for Change, formerly known as PASOK.

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