Greek parties condemned the statements revealed on Monday in a video of a meeting including Sparta Mayor Petros Doukas and Agricultural Development & Food Minister Spilios Livanos, which resulted in the resignation of the latter and the expulsion of the former from ruling New Democracy (ND) party.
At the meeting, Doukas mentioned the tragic wildfires at Ilia region in the summer of 2007, before national elections later in the year. In the video revealed on Monday, Doukas is heard saying that compensations paid out to fire-afflicted citizens influenced the electoral result in favor of the New Democracy party. In the same video, the former minister Livanos is heard telling Doukas that this was “a historic move.”
Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance said the resignation of Livanos “following the outcry cannot hide the vote-lobbying by New Democracy at the expense of citizens, following natural catastrophes.” It also charged Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with “following the exact same recipe of deception. The political insensitivity of Mr. Livanos reflects that of the entire government, which distributed 2,000-euro notes with the elections in mind following the latest harsh weather and the fiasco of the executive state.”
It also criticized the choice of Giorgos Georgantas, an MP and former Deputy e-Governance Minister as Livanos’ replacement, posting a video where he tells a local party organization that former ND voters should be reminded before elections of how they benefitted from the party by postings and contracts.
Movement for Change (KINAL) spoke of the “political epic” of the then-Karamanlis government and the “cynical admission of ND ministers”. This attitude, it said, “insults the memory of the victims and reveals the clientelistic mentalities that have not changed in ND, turning even a natural catastrophe into a field for small-minded party opportunism.”
Commenting on Livanis’ resignation, the Communist Party (KKE) called his statements “a monumental cynicism” that reveals “how governments see the problems of the populace. And it may be that cynical ministers are kicked out when they are caught ‘in flagrante delicto’, but cynical policies live on and rule.”