Premier Andreas Papandreou Announces New Cabinet
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Premier Andreas Papandreou on Thursday appointed a streamlined, 21-member Cabinet, including his eldest son as deputy culture minister, in an effort to improve the Socialist government’s efficiency in its second four-year term.
There were only three new faces in the new Cabinet: Yiannis Papadopoulos, a parliamentarian who becomes minister for northern Greece; Costas Sfyriou, a 36-year-old lawmaker from the southern island of Rhodes who will head the newly created ministry of the Aegean; and George Papadimitriou, the new minister of transportation.
However, other changes included a new foreign minister and a new economic czar.
The new government replaces the Socialists’ previous unwieldy 52-member Cabinet whose rare meetings left much of the decision-making to the premier, aided by a few senior ministers and close party advisers.
A temporary government appointed after the Socialists’ June 2 election victory leaves office after the new Cabinet’s swearing in Friday.
Carolos Papoulias, 56, was named as foreign minister. The soft-spoken former lawyer, who is known to favor closer ties with third world and non- aligned countries, previously was alternate foreign minister. He replaces Ioannis Charalambopoulos, 66, who becomes deputy premier.
Costas Simitis, 49, will take over as minister of national economy from Grasimos Arsenis, a former senior United Nations economist who was dropped from the Cabinet unexpectedly. Simitis served four years as agriculture minister.
Greece faces serious economic problems, including a 17 percent inflation rate, rising unemployment and a soaring foreign debt.
″If Simitis can turn the economy around, he could become Papandreou’s heir apparent as leader of Pasok (the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement). If not he’s no longer a political threat to the other aspirants,″ said an analyst, who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
Government officials issued no immediate comment on the new Cabinet line- up.
George Gennimatas remained minister of health and Akis Tsochatzopoulos became minister to the premier’s office. Costas Laliotis, 33, formerly deputy minister of youth and sports, was named deputy minister to the premier’e office, a post usually held by the government spokesman.
Former actress Melina Mercouri, the only woman in the cabinet, will remain culture minister.
Her deputy in an expanded ministry will be George Papandreou, the premier’s 33-year-old son, who was first elected to Parliament in 1981.
Theodore Pangalos will retain responsibility for Greece’s relations with the European Economic Community as alternate foreign minister. Yiannis Kapsis, a former newspaper editor, is to remain as deputy foreign minister handling Greek-U.S. relations.