James Forsyth

Greece’s troubles deepen

Greece’s troubles deepen
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The Greek coalition was already a pretty shaky affair but the resignation of the finance minister before he’s even taken office weakens it even further. Vassilis Rapanos, who was the Chairman of the National Bank of Greece, has been in hospital and his resignation does appear to be health related. But given that the two left-wing junior coalition partners are refusing to allow their MPs to join the new Cabinet, his inability to take up his post is a severe blow to the government.

Another threat to the government’s survival is that the Germans, whose public and private positions have been surprisingly aligned throughout this crisis, are making clear that they are not interested in easing the terms of the bailout. Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister, told the new government to comply with the bailout ‘quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece.’ It is hard to see how this is reconcilable with Pasok, the 2nd largest party in the government, repeatedly stressing that it is has only gone in so that it can help rewrite the terms of the bailout. A third election, and in circumstances that would favour Syriza, is looking increasingly likely at the moment.