President Nicos Anastasiades will be seeing his ministers individually in the coming days before deciding on the composition of his cabinet as he heads into his new term, though Finance Minister Harris Georgiades’ refusal to continue in his post is proving to be a headache.
Ministers departing the cabinet meeting on Thursday dodged questions regarding their future in the administration as it became clear that Georgiades threw a spanner in the works by refusing to continue at the finance ministry.
“The president informed us that in the next few days he will be seeing all ministers one by one and then make his decisions,” Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said.
He was echoed by Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis who tiptoed around a question on whether he was thinking of departing.
“Let us allow the president to make his decisions as is his constitutional right,” Lakkotrypis said.
Anastasiades’ main problem at the moment is Georgiades’ refusal to spend a second term at the finance ministry.
Georgiades was eyeing the foreign ministry, the only position, which carries more clout than his current one.
However, it appears that Anastasiades had already promised the position to government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, a fact that was leaked to the media a day before Georgiades visited the presidential palace to drop his bombshell.
Following that, at least one report appeared in the evening suggesting the Palace was unhappy with Georgiades whose move dampened the election triumph.
Not long afterwards, two cabinet heavyweights, Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis and Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, came out in favour of their colleague.
“Before even they were informed about the facts, certain parrots rushed to deconstruct @Georgiades_H. Proscriptions of political opponents do not befit our people. Relax,” Pamboridis tweeted. He added that his colleague had served the government honourably and had a lot more to give.
Also tweeting, Petrides said the country owed a lot to Georgiades, adding that nothing was a given in the economy.
“Blows below the belt of course are a part of politics no matter how unfair,” he said.
Anastasiades would have preferred Georgiades remaining at the finance ministry but now he would have to see how to manage the possible loss of one of his aces.
He may also have to deal with opposition from within the foreign ministry if he goes ahead with the Christodoulides appointment.
Christodoulides is a diplomat, seconded to the presidential palace, and returning to the ministry as the chief of the service would likely draw reaction from officials who are his seniors.