A joke: Greek Prime Minister Alexis “U-Turn” Tsipras, former Premier Antonis “Mr. Bean Counter” Samaras and Parliament Speaker Zoe “Crazy Eyes” Constantopoulou all go to heaven at the same time and are met by a bewildered God on his throne, who asks who they are.
“I was the Prime Minister of Greece,” says a satisfied Samaras. “Then you can sit on my left,” says God.
“I too was the Prime Minister of Greece – the most recent,” says Tsipras, the Radical Left SYRIZA leader who resigned as Premier to call for snap elections and try to rid his party of rebels, like Constantopoulou, who bucked austerity and called him a traitor for supporting it.
“What? Greece doesn’t have a Prime Minister now?” God sighs, pointing at Tsipras. “Then you can sit on my right,” he says.
“Who are you?” says God, turning his head away from Constantopoulou, who frightened him more than Satan, as she glared him down.
“The name’s Zoe, pal?” she says, “And you’re sitting in my chair.”
Such is how Constantopoulou views herself, although she’d settle for being the new Queen of Greece, which is without a monarchy.
Good thing because she’s scarier, more manipulative and scheming than Queen Cersei in Game of Thrones and would make the Zombies in The Walking Dead take a detour around her to avoid chowing down on demon meat.
Tsipras must be wishing he could plead temporary insanity on the day he picked her to preside over the Parliament because she can empty a room faster than a skunk.
She’s moody, unpredictable, confrontational, argumentative, pugnacious and would even make her male counterpart, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis blink first.
None of those attributes would matter if she were sitting in the back of the Parliament with the likes of former Prime Minister and one-time New Democracy Capitalist leader Costas “The Invisible Man” Karamanlis, but it does now because she oversees the body deliberating laws for Greece.
Well, alleged laws because those are set by the Prime Minister who orders his lawmakers how to vote or take a long walk off a short pier if they don’t do as he says.
Constantopoulou essentially spat in the face of Tsipras, three times voting against his orders for his party’s Members of Parliament to back austerity that he once opposed.
That’s what Samaras did before both got the talking-to from the country’s owners, the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank, which has now been joined by the European Stability Mechanism in ruling Greece.
Constantopoulou, who has fought openly with police, her own party and has rumored to seen getting into a debate with a telephone pole she didn’t like, has used her office to try to delay legislation and defy Tsipras. But it’s her manner that’s more offensive to the alleged decorum of the Greek Parliament, which has set aside a large special section for non-vertebrates.
In recent days, Constantopoulou was battling with Tsipras and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos – from New Democracy – essentially accusing them of usurping her power, which she believes to be absolute apparently.
She lashed out at Tsipras for calling early elections “on the sly,” and said both he and Pavlopoulos were treating Greek institutions as “their fiefdom and property,” when she believes they belong to her.
You can imagine her in her best Queen Cersei snit threatening to disembowel someone for looking at her the wrong way.
When Pavlopoulos, as the Constitution allows, said he would first give the next two parties in Parliament a chance to form a government before elections would otherwise be held, Constantopoulou took another of her famed dog nutties.
She said she should have been consulted first, under the Constitution. Pavlopoulos, having enough of her, issued a statement: “The Presidency is no longer paying attention to Mrs Constantopoulou,” it said.
Tsipras has finally had enough of her act too. In a statement – it’s always a statement because Greek politicians are afraid to face even the timid Greek Press – he said, “The Parliamentary Speaker is acting like a dictator.”
It added: “She thinks she’s at the institutional center of democracy when she’s just a wrong choice,” after it was reported Tsipras said he regretted putting her up for the position in the first place, another of his classic blunders.
So what’s behind those crazy eyes and death stare?
She studied law at the Law School of the University of Athens, International and European Law at Paris X Nanterre and a post-graduate course at Sorbonne on European Criminal Law and European Anti-crime Policies.
She taught English at the Fresnes Prison, worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and completed a second post-graduate course on Human Rights and Criminal Law at Columbia University, while working at the office of the Greek Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Impressive credentials if she weren’t so immersed in herself and also abusing the legal system, such as when she drew out the trial of rapists she defended, making victims come from Canada and Australia – for eight years – so she’s no friend of women or justice.
In April, she berated a gas station attendant for not replacing a tire on her car even though he didn’t have the tool and screamed at him like a maniac.
“You don’t know who I am!” she said. Yeah, we do. Medusa.