Greek Minister Sacked for Laughing about Natural Disasters

ATHENS – Greece’s prime minister sacked the country’s agriculture minister Monday after video surfaced of him laughing approvingly as a local party official expounded on how compensation payments for natural disasters can help win elections.

A government statement said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke to the minister, Spilios Livanos, to demand an explanation over his reaction to the “unacceptable reference.” The statement said Livanos “admitted that he should have reacted differently” and offered his resignation, which was accepted.

The video was from a meeting Livanos attended last week in Sparta in southern Greece. In it the mayor, himself a former cabinet official when Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy party was in government in 2004-2009, is heard saying that the party was able to win the 2007 election against the odds “by taking bags (of money) to compensate” people afflicted by wildfires that had ravaged southern Greece weeks earlier, killing scores of people.

Livanos appeared in the video to laugh and say it would be hard to match that “epic achievement.” During his visit to Sparta, he had announced compensation payments to farmers who suffered crop damage from frost.

Deputy e-Governance Min. Georgantas named new Agriculture minister

Deputy Digital Governance Minister Giorgos Georgantas will replace Spilios Livanos as Agricutlure Development & Food minister following the latter’s resignation on Monday.

The New Democracy MP from Kilkis, central Macedonia, will be sworn in at 13:30 on Tuesday before Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Georgantas has been a practising lawyer since graduating from the Democritus University of Thrace’s Law School. He was first elected deputy in May 2012, and has also served as deputy Education, Religion & Adult Learning minister under the government of Antonis Samaras.

He is married and has two children.


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