ATHENS – Under pressure from critics, economist Elena Panaritis said she won’t accept the job as Greece’s envoy to the International Monetary Fund, one of the country’s international lenders.
Panaritis was appointed by Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras although she’s a member of the party’s dreaded rival, the PASOK Socialists, and supported austerity measures he campaigned against.
Her naming, with the backing of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, caused an uproar in SYRIZA whose officials lambasted the appointment of someone who had backed big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings the government is still working to reject in stalled talks with international lenders.
Panaritis issued a brief statement on June 1 saying that she would not be taking up the post due to objections from SYRIZA MPs and members.
“I did not ask for this position and given that I accepted it only because I felt that I could help the government with my experience of how the IMF works, it is impossible for me to accept the appointment when there is a negative reaction from SYRIZA MPs and members,” said Panaritis, who has worked at the World Bank in the past.