The decision by Energy Minister Lakkotrypis to withdraw from Diko throws its weight into a mix of seemingly open conflict between the government and the new party leadership that decided to leave the coalition over the joint peace declaration.
Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos called on its four ministers to quit by early March but a reshuffle has been delayed until after March 15 as President Anastasiades requested more time to review his reshuffle options.
Lakkotrypis - who clearly voiced his disagreement with the logic behind the coalition divorce - is considered to be a central figure in the row, as he heads the most sensitive of ministries at the most critical time.
So far he has avoided to clearly position himself on his future, but Cyprus Daily sources were told that if President Anastasiades asks him to stay on due to crucial natural gas developments, then he will not spare a second thought in remaining a cabinet member.
Diko has expressed respect over the Lakkotrypis decision to quit the party over his disagreements, but there was a suggestion that the minister had ‘personal ambitions’ to pursue.
But the other three Diko ministers are expected to get the chop in the government shake-up.
Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou (who was also a strong proponent of staying in government), Health Minister Petros Petrides, reportedly furious at the allegation that he just wanted to stay on for the ministers’ pension and Education Minister Kyriakos Kenevezos, who had a bust up with the Diko leadership a couple of weeks ago, are according to sources, on their way out.
Petrides is a pensioner in any case, Kenevezos and Fotiou however were high profile Diko officials before taking cabinet posts.
So the President’s options seem to be limited in this regard, as keeping them would be the source of additional animosity with Nicolas Papadopoulos who is now the government’s biggest critic.
But there is a scenario that doesn’t completely rule out all the Diko ministers staying in government, as relations with the former coalition partner couldn’t get any worse and there is turmoil within the party itself.
In addition, the possibility of reshuffling Disy ministers is highly unlikely.