There are those who would argue that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ reshuffle on Tuesday brought very little change after a whole lot of speculation and is not very meaningful. They would be absolutely wrong, though.
One of the things that we can surmise is that Mitsotakis is evidently satisfied with the way his government’s ministers are handling their respective portfolios. He is not being smug; his satisfaction is simply indicative of the fact that the prime minister’s office maintains control over the government’s ministers and there is no need to replace them.
It can only be good – in theory at least – for a country to be governed by a prime minister who is happy with the performance of his ministers. The only problem is that the success of the entire government then comes to depend on the point of view of one man, meaning that it is no longer a “system” of governance but a vehicle of exercising power.
It is also evident from the nature of the changes that one of the prime minister’s top priorities is how Greece handles the significant resources it stands to receive from the European Union via the coronavirus rescue fund, which is why he promoted the respected and trustworthy Theodoros Skylakakis to alternate minister from deputy. His skills in managing these funds can only be judged when the time comes, so there is no point in criticizing the decision yet.
There has also been some grumbling from the so-called right-wing ranks of the conservative New Democracy party over the fact that the new changes enhance the role of officials hailing from the modernist PASOK under Costas Simitis and George Papandreou. They are wrong to complain because Mitsotakis is a self-declared liberal and these are naturally the kind of people he prefers to deal with, not the right-wing faction of ND, which is treated as an inert mass and will continue as such.
The prime minister obviously feels that he is on safe ground and actually is so because he does not face any serious challenges from within the ranks of New Democracy. The other parties on the right of the political spectrum, meanwhile, are either politically primitive or ludicrous. Many of his detractors, moreover, are waiting for a social explosion once the summer holidays are over, but they might be disappointed because the public’s aversion to the opposition leftist SYRIZA remains quite acute. That said, every leader’s “edge” has an inevitable expiry date.