The Greek government, staggering under what may be its terminal political crisis, stunned the country and infuriated the opposition by making sudden and sweeping changes to the military leadership. From the Athens Times:
In a surprise move, on Tuesday evening the defence minister replaced the country’s top brass.An extraordinary meeting of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (Kysea), which comprises the prime minister and other key cabinet members, accepted Defence Minister Panos Beglitis’ proposal that the following changes be made to army, navy and air force and the general staff…It is understood that the personnel changes took many members of the government and of the armed forces by surprise.
The changes were sweeping indeed: the Chief of Staff and the heads of the army, navy and air force were all suddenly replaced.Greece was under military rule following a coup in 1967 until 1974, and the experience left lasting scars. It is not clear why the government felt these changes were needed now. There is some question as to whether Prime Minister George Papandreou’s government can survive until the weekend as a significant number of party members have challenged the decision to call a referendum on the latest austerity program.The opposition reaction to the changes in military leadership does not allay fears that things are coming unstuck in the land of the Hellenes:
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) defence spokesman Margaritis Tzimas spoke of “an undemocratic act which is directed against national interest”, adding that “at the time when the Pasok government is collapsing, it is proceeding with … changes in the leadership of the country’s armed forces”. He said that his party would not recognise the decisions.
The world needs less drama from Greece; it doesn’t look like we will get that anytime soon.