ATHENS – PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who serves as Deputy Prime Minister, blasted his boss, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, for luring away a Socialist lawmaker to run with New Democracy in the Jan. 25 elections.
Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou is jumping ship from the sinking PASOK so she can be assured of staying in Parliament and the government if New Democracy wins the elections, although it is trailing the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).
Venizelos, who backed harsh austerity measures and was rewarded with key appointments to the coalition goverment, including being Foreign Minister, accused Gerekou of being an opportunist and went after Samaras in a letter to the Premier.
“I never expected New Democracy to be part in such an immoral and crude political initiative as that of Mrs. Gerekou from Corfu,” Venizelos wrote about his deputy, who had served him for 10 years.
“It is a shame,” Venizelos concluded. Gerekou is the wife of one-time popular singer and convicted tax cheat Tolis Voskopoulos. In 2011, he received only a suspended sentence for not paying 5.5 million euros in taxes because he’d said he’d already spent the money.
Gerekou, 55, is a former actress who specialized in sultry poses. It’s common in Greece for lawmakers and ministers to have few qualifications for their positions other than being named for political purposes.
With PASOK, which won the 2009 elections with 44 percent, floundering at about 3 percent in the polls – the threshold needed to win seats in Parliament – a number of its other MPs are also bolting to join a new party formed by its previous leader and former Premier, George Papandreou.