Greek cabinet reshuffle bolsters Pasok's role
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has reshuffled his cabinet after a minor party withdrew from the coalition. The personnel change hands a little more power to the socialist Pasok party.
The Greek premier made some changes to shore up his coalition after the smallest party within the government, the Democratic Left, withdrew its support.
Samaras (pictured left) named former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (right), who is leader of junior coalition partner Pasok, as both foreign minister and deputy prime minister.
The departure of the Democratic Left from government means that the socialist Pasok party increases its number of ministers from two to four. However, the coalition now has a slender majority of just three deputies in the 300-seat assembly.
For Venizelos, who brokered a write-off of Greek debt in the previous government, the appointment is a return to government after elections last year that saw Samaras' New Democracy party emerge as the largest political force - albeit in a splintered parliament.
Samaras has been accused of ignoring his coalition partners, Pasok and the Democratic Left. The Democratic Left abandoned the coalition after a ministerial decree by the government announced the closure of state television broadcaster ERT.
The increased weighting of cabinet appointments to Pasok reflects the party's increased importance in the coalition since the departure of the Democratic Left.
Two other socialist ministers return to the government lineup, Michalis Chryssohoides taking the infrastructure and transport portfolio and Yannis Maniatis moving to an environment and energy post. Pasok also retained the agricultural ministry.
Meanwhile, outgoing Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos - from New Democracy - moves to the Defense Ministry to make way for Venizelos. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras - an independent - retains his position.
rc/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)