Greece considers reshuffle if gets consensus on reforms: report

Reuters News
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Posted: May 26, 2011 4:23 AM
Greece considers reshuffle if gets consensus on reforms: report

ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek prime minister is considering reshuffling his cabinet to include officials suggested by the opposition if it backs his austerity policies, Kathimerini daily wrote without naming sources.

EU policymakers have told George Papandreou he must have broad political consensus to get the extra cash Greece needs to plug funding shortfalls, the kind of consensus achieved in crisis-hit Ireland and Portugal.

But opposition parties have so far rejected austerity policies aimed at pulling Greece out of a severe debt crisis, saying they stifle the economy.

"Prime Minister George Papandreou is considering the possibility of appointing well-respected personalities from parties that will agree to measures necessary for getting new aid by the EU and the IMF to key government posts," the center-right newspaper wrote on its front page on Thursday.

Citing unnamed government sources, Kathimerini wrote that Papandreou was in particular considering the possibility of appointing officials backed by the main opposition conservative New Democracy if this party agreed to support the reforms.

The government denied on Wednesday newspaper reports that it was mulling a referendum on extra austerity measures. But the center-left Ta Nea and Ethnos newspapers said this was still one of the options considered by the government.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou would most likely stay in case of a reshuffle. Although attacked often by ministers at cabinet meetings, according to government sources, he has Papandreou's backing.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander and Tatiana Fragou; editing by Philippa Fletcher)