Thursday, September 24, 2015

Greek Deputy Infrastructure Minister quits 12 hours after sworn in over controversial tweets

Greek Right-wing lawmaker Dimitris Kammenos submitted his resignation from the post of the Deputy Infrastructure Minister on Wednesday night, just 12 hours after the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet that was formed following Sunday's snap national polls.

The appointment of Kammenos, who was elected in parliament with the Right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, the junior partner in the Radical Left SYRIZA- led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, caused strong reactions by opposition parties, media commentators, ordinary citizens, as well as SYRIZA's heavyweights.

His critics pointed to a long series of homophobic, anti-semitic, racist and other provocative tweets he had made in recent years.

Among others, he once posted a picture of Auschwitz accusing Greece's EU lenders of carrying out an "economic Holocaust," and ranted against the organizing of a Gay Parade.

As uproar was mounting and according to government sources he was asked to give explanations, on Wednesday evening he claimed in a brief statement to media that his account was hacked.

However, his credibility was questioned and eventually was forced to resign, government sources said. According to the same sources, Premier Tsipras had a telephone contact over the case with ANEL's party chief and National Defense Minister, Panos Kammenos.

ANEL's President, who has no family ties with Dimitris Kammenos, tweeted on Wednesday evening that "the Deputy Minister would facilitate the government with his resignation until the allegations are verified or proven false."

Shortly afterwards Dimitris Kammenos quit "for the sake of the smooth operation of the new government." He also stressed that he would turn to justice against the hackers "so that truth shines one day."

The two-partite coalition government holds 155 seats in the 300-member strong parliament (145 for SYRIZA and 10 for ANEL).

Following Kammenos' resignation media commentators talked about a "bad omen", as opposition parties criticized Premier Tsipras of "poor judgment" in the selection of cabinet ministers.

Tsipras has been widely criticized in the past for the choice of some members of the first SYRIZA-ANEL government that ruled Greece from January to August this year.

  Xinhua -

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