Tag Archives: Nikiforos Diamantouros

Classifieds: Prime Minister wanted for small South European country

When I started writing this blog I was thinking that one post per 1-2 days would be enough. The developments of last week have been so many that I feel like posting something every half an hour. Unfortunately everything is changing so fast that I avoid writing things that might be outdated within minutes.

A Prime Minister decides a referendum about question X. He then changes his mind and prefers question Z. Then he changes his mind and cancels the referendum. Decisions that usually need weeks or months to be taken or change. Here in Greece, our politicians need minutes to do that. Who said that Greeks are slow and lazy at their job?

I was relieved that Papandreou and Samaras (I shall call them “the kids” for the rest of this post) have shelved their egos and started talking about the new government. Unsurprisingly they haven’t yet agreed on the new Prime Minister (or, rather, the agreed candidates they chose did not want to take the job post). The irony with these kids is that they now look like adults who have nothing in common. Some decades ago, they were studying in the USA enjoying a comfortable life.

Papandreou and Samaras studied together at Amherst College (USA)

The were playing in the same music band, they were going out together. They could even have had the same girlfriends, said jokingly Mimis Androulakis, a PASOK veteran ideologist. One day Samaras and Papandreou were at their favourite place, a pizza restaurant owned by some Chris Bell. Samaras told Papandreou “One day we’ll face each other in the Parliament”. “I will not get involved with politics” replied Papandreou. And here they are quarelling like kids again. The only difference is that now the whole world cares.

Samaras and New Democracy have rejected the idea to offer their members for Ministry posts. So we have the paradox that New Democracy is the only opposition party in the world that wants to participate and influence a new government, without ever being accused of having participated in it.

Another funny thing is that the greek public has been a bit confused on the name of the new goverment. Here are some of the names:

  • national unity government
  • government of national salvation
  • emergency government
  • interim government
  • transitional government
  • government of cooperation
  • co-goverment
  • special task government
  • fixed-term government

But that’s a detail if you compare it with the crucial point: who’s gonna be the Prime Minister? The most probable candidate for the most of the day (yes, it actually changed during less than a single day) was Loukas Papadimos, former vice-president of ECB. It was reported that he posed some demands that couldn’t be satisfied. Another candidate was former Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros. The third candidate was Panagiotis Roumeliotis.

Now, I have no reason to prefer one of the three, but I would like to write this. Panagiotis Roumeliotis was a Minister at the end of 1980s during Andreas Papandreou’s (George’s father) administration. During that scandal heavy era, Andreas Papandreou, Panagiotis Roumeliotis and three more MPs were accused of embezzlement. Roumeliotis went off to become a European MP before the court and managed to avoid being tried thanks to his European MP immunity. He later was Greece’s representative to the IMF.

Update: As soon as I posted this I read that a deal has been reached and it will be announced tomorrow. Despite that, I’ll keep the fact expressed in the words of popular Greek blogger Pitsirikos: In the country where everyone says “Make me a Prime Minister even for just a day and I will manage to change everything”, no one wants to become a Prime Minister.