Greek PM to reshuffle cabinet after new loan tranche: sources

Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:45pm EST
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By Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will reshuffle his cabinet to give a bigger role to junior coalition party members once he has secured a vital loan tranche in the next few weeks, government officials said on Monday.

Samaras will meet the leaders of junior coalition partners, Socialist PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left's Fotis Kouvelis, later on Monday to make his proposals and cement their support, officials said.

"The reshuffle will take place after the installment," one government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "The Finance Minister will not be moved."

Euro zone finance ministers meet on Tuesday to unlock more aid for Greece and avert bankruptcy, but hopes for a quick disbursement of more than 30 billion euros ($38 billion) remain dim as European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) lenders disagree over how to resolve the country's debt crisis.

Samaras would propose deputy prime minister posts to Venizelos and Kouvelis, and offer other cabinet posts to the two leftist parties to secure the widest possible backing in the difficult implementation months ahead, the officials said.

The PASOK leader was open to the prospect but Kouvelis was hesitant, pressured from within his own party, which has already resisted many of the austerity policies that have plunged Greece into its worst recession in decades.

Officials told Reuters on Monday the tranche plus outstanding cash, making a total of 44 billion euros, will be paid on December 5 if Greece meets lenders' conditions.

Greece has fallen short on reforms required to keep a 130 billion euro aid bailout on track, such as increasing competition by liberalizing professions and opening up markets.   Continued...

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras talks to reporters after a Friends of Cohesion meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Yves Herman