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Activists and former "green" deputies are SYRIZA’s shadow ministers

04 July 2012 / 19:07:08  GRReporter
7655 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova  

A day before his meeting with representatives of the supervisory Troika, who are back in Athens today, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is not yet in good condition after the ocular surgery for retinal detachment of his right eye.

Sources claim he is not feeling well and therefore, the preliminary announced meeting with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, who is on an official visit to Greece, has been cancelled. It has also become clear that his meeting with the leaders of the other two participants in the government coalition - Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, will not take place either. Representatives of the three parties are expected to meet later in the day to clarify the last details before the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Troika on Thursday. Despite the urgent changes in Antonis Samaras’ programme, no official statement about his condition has been made so far.

And while the government has not yet managed to gather in its full composition two weeks after the elections, the main opposition party - radical left SYRIZA, has announced the composition of its shadow cabinet. It remains a mystery whether the specific persons will sit in ministerial seats but their choice is indicative of their intentions, taking into account the response to Alexis Tsipras’ speech at the forum organized by The Economist magazine. There, he easily cancelled his pre-election promises of invalidating the Memorandum unilaterally, saying it should be done in coordination with the European partners of Greece.

Many of the names smell like naphthalene, which also preserves the ideas, some of which date back to the early 20th century.

The responsibility to continually monitor the work of Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras has been assigned to Evklidis Tsakalotos - professor at the Economic University of Athens. He was part of the team that made the economic programme of SYRIZA, which remained a great mystery before and after the elections. The man who will breathe down the Minister of Finance’s neck opposes the Memorandum, but calls for a European solution to the debt crisis in Greece and of course, for money for social policy.

Minister of Economy Costis Hadzidakis’ constant shadow will be the much more realistic professor of economics at the University of Crete Yiannis Statakis. In his opinion, the Memorandum is unacceptable from a social point of view; it cannot be applied and will give no results. However, two days ago, he managed to "shock" his party audience with the statement that SYRIZA is for changes in the tax system and it is possible that a draft law be submitted to parliament in this regard. Commenting on the shuffling of Alexis Tsipras, who many people consider charismatic, Yiannis Statakis said, "There is a change in the course, because there is a change in Europe, which we all must admit."

And if the two economists could be defined as more moderate, Minister of Employment Yiannis Vroutsis will be happy to be under the supervision of Dimitris Stratoulis, who is known for his intemperate and sometimes very thoughtless statements and who is an educated lawyer and long-time trade unionist at heart. His opposition line is not expected to go beyond the clear outlines of political activism and brilliant ideas, such as the nationalization of individual bank deposits in order to bring fresh money into the engine of economy.

SYRIZA may be rejecting the criticism that the most populist elements of the most backward part of PASOK have been successfully introduced into the coalition, but reality has practically refuted it. Elected as parliamentary representative of SYRIZA was the former PASOK deputy Panagiotis Kouroublis, who became a hero when he voted against the medium-term plan a year ago and was disaffiliated with the party.

Former athlete Sofia Sakorafa, who was "green" two years ago, has been preferred as the most suitable to monitor the activities of Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis. An interesting fact of her biography is that she participated in the Olympic Games in 2004 with the team of Palestine after the President of the time, Yasser Arafat, had proclaimed her a Palestinian citizen for this purpose.

Shadow minister for administrative reform is the labour law professor Alexis Mitropoulos, known to the public for his appearances in specific morning television blocks, in which he informed the citizens if their length of service was enough to retire.

The work of Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias will be observed by the "dark green" until recently unionist Dimitris Tsoukalas. In 2006, as chairman of the trade union of bank employees, he had organized one of the longest strikes in the sector that caused serious difficulties in the work of companies and individuals. Dimitris Tsoukalas is one of the founders of the trade union of bank employees in PASOK and he strongly emphasizes in his biography that he has worked only in the private sector. During this time, he was involved in the establishment of such trade unions in neighbouring Balkan countries and other countries of Eastern Europe. One of the most interesting facts about him is that until recently, he was one of the closest political "friends" of PASOK’s leader Evangelos Venizelos.

The foreign policy sector has been taken by Rena Dourou, who has recently gained political credits after the spokesman of the extreme right Golden Dawn threw water in her face in a live television broadcast. Greek editions did not hide their surprise that she has been preferred for this position although she has no experience in this field. Some commentators, like Stephanos Kasimatis from Kathimerini newspaper, however, are more ruthless, "The fact that SYRIZA is still at the level of a kindergarten child as far as international affairs are concerned was recently proven by Francois Hollander’s letter and the European tour of Alexis Tsipras. Taking this into account, the responsibility for foreign affairs fully corresponds to the nice blonde from SYRIZA, who is also a qualified kindergarten teacher," he wrote.

So, former prominent members of PASOK will be the opposition to their former "fellows," who are now part of the new coalition government. Regardless of his condition, Antonis Samaras will have to leave his home to meet the representatives of the Troika at 1 pm on Thursday. Then, at 6 pm on Friday, a three-day parliament debate to give the new coalition government a vote of confidence will begin, as the fifteen-day period from the Prime Minister’s swearing ceremony to the beginning of the debate for the vote of confidence will expire on Thursday. According to the State Council for Legal Affairs, the debate can begin a day after the expiry of that period, if a formal request has been sent to the chairman of parliament. In this particular case, there will be no significant delay and the debate will be concluded with a vote at midnight on Sunday.


Tags: PoliticsCoalition governmentShadow ministersSYRIZASupervisory TroikaVote of confidenceDebatesAntonis Samaras
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