ATHENS – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is drawing heat from some in his Radical Left SYRIZA party for appointing PASOK Socialist Elena Panaritis Greece’s representative at the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF is one of the troika of the country’s creditors along with the European Union and European Central Bank and a key agency to deal with.
But instead of naming someone from his own party, the choice of Panaritis, an economist from SYRIZA’s political enemy PASOK, which has faded almost into oblivion, drew new dissension.
The Finance Ministry said that Panaritis, who has even backed the Conservative New Democracy leader and former premier Antonis Samaras, and who worked at the World Bank in the past, would replace Thanos Katsambas, who had been left out of a key IMF meeting after SYRIZA took power.
Kathimerini that Alternate Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos opposed the appointment, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis was neutral but that Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Development Minister Giorgos Stathakis backed the proposal.
Panaritis was a PASOK MP between 2009 and 2012. Over the last few months, she has been an adviser to Varoufakis and has been involved in Greece’s negotiations with lenders.
Her appointment riled other SYRIZA officials. MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis called on Tsipras to rethink the government’s choice, while MP Sofia Sakorafa said that the decision to appoint the ex-PASOK lawmaker went “beyond the limit.”
PASOK accused Panaritis of being a “political opportunist” but didn’t say if she would be booted from the party as its leader, Evangelos Venizelos is set to step down in June after taking the once-dominant power into last place among parties in Parliament.