Greek PM Proposes New Finance Minister
New Greek government is already looking for a new finance minister days after the rest of the government was sworn in as incumbent finance minister Vassilios Rapanos filed his resignation on Monday, and was let to go by the prime minister Antonis Samaras.
Vassilios Rapanos is the chairman of the Greek national bank and on Friday had a physical breakdown which made it compulsory for him to be hospitalized. Rapanos motivated his decision with the incapacity to execute his office due to health problems.
Rapanos was diagnosed with nausea and dizziness days after the new Democracy party forged an agreement with the leftist PASOK and the Democratic Left. Vassilios Rapanos was never sworn in as minister, and his resignation leaves the newly appointed government without a finance minister.
Rapanos was the first minister to be announced by Antonis Samaras after the elections on June 17, as the leader of the new government wanted to convey a strong message to the European partners that the country’s finances are in good hands.
On Tuesday, the premier announced he was considering the nomination of Yiannis Stournaras as finance minister, the state TV Net reports, a proposal which is said to be backed by the other two leaders of the coalition. Evangelos Venizelos, leader of PASOK, and Fotis Kouvelis, leader of Democratic Left, are expected to meet at Samaras’s house at 1630 GTM.
The premier himself was hospitalized in Athens for an eye problem, and underwent surgery, making it impossible for the leader of the government to attend the summit of the European Council later this week. The Greek parliament cleared the president Karolos Papoulias to represent the country to the European summit.
The prime minister will not be able to negotiate new terms for the agreement and to answer the questions the European leaders may have for them. Greece is expected this month to receive a $163 billion bailout package which would help the country avoid default.
Yiannis Stournaras is a 56-year-old economist, professor of economics at the University in Athens, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, participant in the admission of Greece to the Economic and Monetary Union.
The finance minister is very important for a country like Greece, which has underwent two rounds of parliamentary elections in order to establish a government after the people of Greece cast a very negative vote in May, following the European trend against the austerity measures.
In May, the radical leftist party Syriza came second in the elections, by a few mandates less than the New Democracy. This situation made it impossible for the leaders of the first three parties to create a government as in order for a government to be formed the coalition of all three was required, but the Syriza declared that it would never ally itself with a party that signed and supports the austerity measures which have hurt the life standard of many people in the country.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said that his party will form a government alone if the people give them enough votes to do so, and refused to the end to do what it was expected of him. The leaders of the other parties accused Syriza and Tsipras of advancing a personal agenda with no concern for the public matters.
As it became clear that no government can be formed, the president of the republic called for renewed elections, which were held on June 16 and were won, once again, by the New Democracy, by a small margin. The government was formed with the PASOK and Democratic Left, two socialist parties which announced that they would support a government without participating with minister in a conservative government.11