Parliament may be well into its summer sessions, the thermometer may be edging towards 40 Celsius and Greeks may be anticipating their holidays but the tension in the country’s politics is being steadily ratcheted up.
To Potami (The River), the centrist party founded by journalist Stavros Thedorakis earlier this year, held its founding congress over the weekend, thereby taking the next step in its effort to become a notable player in Greek politics.
The coalition passed an amendment through Parliament this week which means it will have to pay judges an extra 70 million euros a year. It is a move that should help repair relations between the government and the judiciary but which has wider implications.
Greece’s new cabinet seems to have emerged unscathed from the first test of its cohesion, which was brought about by disquiet concerning the privatisation of 30 percent of the state-run Public Power Corporation (PPC) in the form of a smaller spin-off.
Two years after the government decided to implement a contentious increase of 440 percent in the excise tax on heating oil, data produced by Greece’s General Accounting Office (GAO) has shown that the measure was largely fruitless.
Greece has to complete 12 “prior actions” to receive the next 2 billion euros of its bailout from the eurozone but the coalition’s appetite for adopting measures appears to be waning.
The naming of economist Gikas Hardouvelis as Greece’s new finance minister took most observers by surprise but the big challenges awaiting him are no secret.
Ending days of speculation, the new Greek cabinet was named on Monday, with Eurobank economist Gikas Hardouvelis being appointed Yannis Stournaras’s successor at the Finance Ministry.
Although PASOK managed to perform slightly better than most pollsters expected in the European Parliament elections, the pressure from within the party on its leader Evangelos Venizelos has increased.
The resignation on Thursday of Greece’s chief tax collector, Haris Theoharis, has raised questions about the Greek government’s commitment to creating a genuinely independent revenue service and meeting the troika’s demands.