The programme framework was the least problem to the formation of the new Greek government. Throughout the night, the party headquarters of New Democracy, PASOK and the Democratic Left were discussing the composition of the coalition cabinet, with the sharpest reactions inside PASOK. Since yesterday afternoon, former ministers such as Michalis Chrysochoidis, Andreas Loverdos and Petros Efthimiou openly opposed the position of leader Evangelos Venizelos, who decided to involve in the government technocrats rather than politicians. Because of the heated discussions in PASOK, the beginning of the meeting of party representatives in parliament late last night was delayed.
According to some journalistic sources, socialists exchanged very hard words, the quarrel between Evangelos Venizelos and Michalis Chrysochoidis being the most severe one. Rumours have been spreading in the social network Facebook that even iPads were thrown during the "discussion".
It has just become clear that the PASOK parliamentary group has approved the position of leader Evangelos Venizelos of not involving prominent party representatives in the coalition government. Significant for this decision was the statement of the Secretary of PASOK Nikos Salayanis, "My personal opinion is that PASOK has a great need to purify itself from government."
Talks between the parties were held in a spirit of consensus and they aim at speeding up the procedures so that the new cabinet takes an oath tomorrow and the parliamentary procedures for a vote of confidence start earlier.
According to sources, the majority of ministers will be technocrats and will even take the most neuralgic departments. The economist and caretaker Minister of Development Yiannis Stournaras is very likely to head the Ministry of Finance, reads Ethnos newspaper. George Zanias, who took the post in the interim government, George Mourmouras and Christos Staykouras from New Democracy are supposed to be his deputies.
According to To Vima newspaper, the former president of the National Bank of Greece Vassilis Rapanos is likely to be appointed Minister of Finance. The publication states that Antonis Samaras and Fotis Kouvelis have agreed on the nomination and Evangelos Venizelos did not oppose it. Vassilis Rapanos himself is not rushing to take his final decision before he is familiar with the programme framework and aware of who will be the members of the new cabinet.
As regards the post of Minister of Development, it is expected that the New Democracy deputy Kostis Hatzidakis will be appointed, who formerly headed it. Constitutional law professor Antonis Manitakis, who took over the post in the interim government, is very likely to remain in the Ministry of Interior as suggested by the Democratic Left. Other sources claimed that despite the rumours, nothing has been decided for the particular ministry.
According to the same sources, Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos is expected to head the Ministry of Education, Kyriakos Mitsotakis – the Ministry of Infrastructure or the Ministry of Environment, Olga Kefalogianni – the Ministry of Tourism and Alexandros Tourkolias – the Ministry of Merchant Shipping.
On the other hand, caretaker Ministers of Employment and Agriculture Antonis Roupakiotis and Napoleon Maravegias are very likely to continue running them.
Leftheris Ikonomou, who enjoys the support of the Democratic Left, is also expected to remain in the Ministry of Public Order (or citizens protection).
New Democracy had suggested that the President of the Union of Judges and Prosecutors Charalambos Athanasiou become Minister of Justice, but the Democratic Left disagreed.
Antonis Samaras is expected to settle in the Prime Minister's residence along with his close associates Chrisantos Lazaridis, Dimitris Stamatis and former New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis. It is expected that Takis Baltakos will be appointed as Secretary of the Council of Ministers.
Chrisantos Lazaridis is the closest associate of the future prime minister but it is not at all certain that he will become Minister of State. He and Evangelos Meimarakis, however, will take up the difficult task of coordinating the communication between New Democracy and its coalition partners.
Despite the initial suggestion of appointing Yiannis Mihelakis as government spokesman, the three parties have decided that a person who enjoys the support of all should take the post.
During the talks, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis put a veto against the participation in the cabinet of members of New Democracy, who have recently moved in from the far right LAOS party. Thus, although their names were in the original list of Antonis Samaras, ministers Makis Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis from Lucas Papademos’ cabinet will not participate in the coalition government.
Makis Voridis will probably be named parliamentary representative of New Democracy with a promise that he will enter the government at some point. Adonis Georgiadis, whose name was tipped for the Ministry of Merchant Shipping, was promised the same.
Sources claim that Fotis Kouvelis expressed willingness for the cabinet to involve the most moderate representatives of the three parties in order to enjoy a wider approval by society.