Christofias Calls for All Ministers To Resign
In another show of brinkmanship between President Demetris Christofias and coalition partner DIKO, Christofias has called an emergency Cabinet meeting and asked all ministers to tender their resignations, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
The move comes in the wake of yesterday's announcement by DIKO that party members who are ministers will resign after foot dragging by AKEL over austerity measures. Most of the proposed measures will mainly impact civil servants and trade unions have begun reacting against them. Since the unions are communist party AKEL's traditional power base, Christofias is loath to alienate them and lose further support. This is especially true in the wake of the explosion at Mari naval base on July 11th, after which polls show that 85 percent of respondents want his resignation.
DIKO president Marios Garoyian released a statement saying that his party members Christos Patsalides (Minister of Health) and Antonis Paschalides (Minister of Trade) would resign. In reaction, the government spokesman said that this was unethical because only the president can ask for ministers' resignations.
"Dialogue between partners is necessary but cannot be made public before informing the president," said Stefanou.
A reshuffle was expected to be announced after the meeting which started at 9.30am this morning, but according to Stefanou, Garoyian and Christofias will have another meeting to discuss the future of the coalition.
Even at this critical time, no new developments were announced except the re-appointment of the current electricity authority board of directors, with the exception of Christos Enotiades, who will be replaced by Kyriakos Kyriakou. The government spokesman said that no other changes were made in the board so that the electricity authority can continue its efforts to control and restore the electricity supply.
After the meeting between Garoyian and Christofias, there was virtually no comment from the head of DIKO as he left the Presidential Palace.
"It's time for responsibility and thought...The discussions will continue," he said.
There was no confirmation about when the next Cabinet will be announced or whether DIKO will continue to participate as the minority partner. This new uncertainty has been added to the government's reputation for carelessness and irresponsibility in the circumstances leading up to the deadly blast at Evangelos Florakis naval base. It also means further delays in implementing already desperately-overdue austerity measures.
Christofias continues to resist calls for his resignation, which have come most recently from EVROKO MP Demetris Syllouris and MEP Yiannis Cassoulides.
"The people elected me, I only answer to the people," he said earlier today.