Greek PM to reshuffle cabinet after wildfires

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will reshuffle his cabinet on Tuesday, his office said, adding new faces after criticism of the government's handling of wildfires this summer. However, key ministers are expected to stay on.

The newly-established ministry will be helmed by Evangelos Apostolakis, a retired admiral who previously served as minister of defence.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou stressed that "the fire service will be integrated into this ministry."

The ministries of Health, Citizen Protection and Tourism were also impacted by the reshuffle with Athanassios Plevris taking over Vassilios Kikilias as the new health tsar, while Kikilias takes control of the tourism portfolio. Panagiotis Theodorikakos, a former minister of interior for Mitsotakis, has been given the citizen protection ministry.

Thousands of hectares of forests were destroyed by fires that burned for days across Greece in August, forcing thousands of people to vacate and destroying thousands of homes and businesses. The fires killed one person, and another died helping the support teams.

In a bid to defuse growing public anger at delays and breakdowns in the government's response, Mitsotakis, whose conservative government took office in July 2019, has apologised publicly and promised that mistakes would be rectified.

Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou will announce the new cabinet at 0800 GMT, Mitsotakis'office said.

The reshuffle will come a few days before Mitsotakis outlines his economic policy for next year in an annual keynote address at the opening of the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki.