Fears of a military takeover?


As Greek politics grew ever more chaotic strong political protests erupted as the government moved to replace military chiefs with officers seen as more supportive of George Papandreou, the prime minister.

In a surprise development, Panos Beglitis, Defence Minister, a close confidante of Mr Papandreou, summoned the chiefs of the army, navy and air-force and announced that they were being replaced by other senior officers.

Neither the minister nor any government spokesman offered an explanation for the sudden, sweeping changes, which were scheduled to be considered on November 7 as part of a regular annual review of military leadership retirements and promotions. Usually the annual changes do not affect the entire leadership.

“Under no circumstances will these changes be accepted, at a time when the government is collapsing and has not even secured a vote of confidence,” said an official announcement by the opposition conservative New Democracy party.

“It has no moral or real authority any more, and such surprise moves can only worsen the crisis currently sweeping the country”.

The party said it will not accept the new nominations and will take its own decisions on armed forces changes if it comes to power at the general elections that are expected to take place in Greece if the government loses the vote of confidence on Friday night.