Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos announced late this afternoon the results of the reshuffle of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ cabinet, following the resignations of former economy and development minister Dimitris Papadimitriou and his wife, alternate labour minister Rania Antonopoulou.
Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis was appointed to replace Papadimitriou in a post that involves the crucial task of attracting foreign investments.
Antonopoulou was placed by Athanasios Iliopoulos, who until now headed the labour ministry’s labour inspection bureau (epithreorisi ergasias), and previously served as the secretary of the central council of the youth of Synaspismos.
Vitsas was appointed to replace Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas, who withdrew mainly for health reasons – he was recently admitted to hospital – and who had made huge efforts to manage the refugee and migrant crisis.
The major surprise in the reshuffle was the appointment of Fotis Kouvelis as alternate defence minister, replacing Vitsas.
Kouvelis in 2008 was Tsipras’ challenger for the leadership of Synaspismos, the precursor party of Syriza, in a party election in which Tsipras won in a huge landslide.
He will confront the major challenges that the government faces in Greek-Turkish relations.
Meropi Tzoufi, a paediatric neurologist and Syriza MP representing the northern Greece electoral district of Ioannina, was appointed deputy education minister to replace Kostas Zouraris, who resigned in January after making lewd remarks about a football team.
Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, an actress, was not replaced as many had reported. However, Tsipras appointed a new deputy culture minister, Konstantinos Stratis, an archaeologist who until now had served as a culture minister employee.
Tzanakopoulos announced that the remit of the new alternate ministers and deputy ministers will be decided in the coming days.