Monday, January 10, 2011

Samaras announces new ND 'shadow cabinet'

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Monday announced a new and radically different 'shadow cabinet' for his party that he said would make it an even more effective opposition to a "tottering government without vision, solutions or prospects".
Samaras, who predicted a high possibility of radical political developments in the near future, said the changes sought to allow more of his party officials and associates to acquire valuable experience by creating a more participatory structure for the Parliamentary group and a more functional structure for the party.
"The aim is not that all of us should do all things but that these are done in the most efficient way," he added.
According to sources, up-to-now director of Eleftheros Typos newspaper Yiannis Mihelakis will be appointed party spokesman, while current spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos will be named shadow foreign minister, with MP Costas Gioulekas taking over as alternate shadow foreign minister, and Margaritis Tzimas assuming the post of shadow defence minister.
Simos Kedikoglou is slated to undertake the new post of shadow minister for the media, while current party vice-presidents Dimitris Avramopoulos and Stavros Dimas will retain their posts.
Samaras, an economist, will himself hold the post of shadow economy minister, with Christos Staikouras, Notis Mitarakis and Yiannis Vroutsis as his alternates.
The shadow justice minister will be Costas Tzavaras, until now ND parliamentary representative, with Costas Karagounis as his alternate, while former shadow justice minister Nikos Dendias will take up one of the party's parliamentary spokespersons posts.
Thanassis Nakos will take up the post of shadow citizens' protection minister, and Aris Spiliotopoulos the post of shadow education minister.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis will retain his post of shadow environment minister, with Nicos Kanteres and Theodora Avgerinopoulou as his alternates, and Yiannis Plakiotakis will retain his post of shadow merchant marine minister.
Thanassis Yiannopoulos will assume the post of shadow health minister, with Gerassimos Yiakoumatos as his alternate, while Kostis Hatzidakis remains development shadow minister and Costas Tasoulas assumes the post of ND parliamentary group secretary, with Eliza Voizenberg as his alternate.
The sources said Samaras is attempting to maintain the internal party balances in the new shadow cabinet, appointing MPs who are rumored to have been in talks with former ND MP and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and founder/leader of the new Democratic Alliance party, as well as cadres who had served as ministers under the former ND government of Costas Karamanlis who had not been given authorities in the shadow government.