Govt selects former PASOK MP Panariti as new rep to IMF

Elena Panariti, part of the SYRIZA government’s negotiating team since January, to fill the post – First negative reaction from within the party

The leftist Greek government on Friday formally announced that Elena Panariti is its choice for the country’s next representative to the IMF. She replaces Thanos Katsambas.

Panariti served as state list MP for socialist PASOK when it was in alone in power between October 2009 through November 2011, and then until June 2012 under a subsequent coalition government. A “state list” deputy isn’t elected in a district by popular vote but occupies one of 12 spots each party leader selects for a relevant list.

She had previously served at the World Bank and participated in various international negotiations. Panariti also lists professorial positions in several US universities.

In a bid to deflect potential criticism of the appointment, the finance ministry on Friday issued a statement noting that Panariti had expressed “intense criticism of applied economic policy” by the then government in 2012, “even though she was a MP” within the ruling coalition.

The first high-profile reaction, from within SYRIZA, in fact, came before the ink even dried on the appointment notice. SYRIZA MEP Sofia Sakorafa, herself a previous PASOK deputy and one-time javelin champion in the 1980s, tweeted that “Panariti a representative of the first left government? No, that’s surpasses the boundaries … Panariti isn’t the first unfortunate selection (by the SYRIZA government), but it’s the one that surpasses all boundaries”.

After radical leftist SYRIZA party’s election victory on Jan. 25, Panariti joined the new government’s negotiating team in talks with institutional creditors — the same talks and negotiations continuing at present.

The members of the informal committee that selected Panariti were FinMin Yanis Varoufakis; government Deputy PM Yiannis Dragasakis; Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis and Alt. FM for economic affairs Euclid Tsakalotos.