Greek PM faces criticism over rule-breaking island lunch

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 08 2021 09:34 AM

Greek PM faces criticism over rule-breaking island lunch 1
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other people gather for lunch at a house in the Ikaria Islands on February 6, 2021 as Greece announced on February 5, stricter anti-Covid measures including a 6 PM curfew in big cities while gatherings in private residences remained forbidden. The Greek government on February 7, 2021 played down criticism after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was pictured enjoying lunch with around 30 people on a remote island despite a ban on gatherings. Mitsotakis, however, met around 30 people on February 6 at the home of Christodoulos Stefanadis, a ruling party MP, on the island of Ikaria, according to a photo that soon went viral on social media. Stringer / AFP

ATHENS - The Greek government on Sunday played down criticism after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was pictured enjoying lunch with around 30 people on a remote island despite a ban on gatherings.

On Friday, Greece announced stricter anti-COVID measures including a 6pm curfew in big cities while gatherings in private residences remained forbidden.

Mitsotakis, however, met around 30 people on Saturday at the home of Christodoulos Stefanadis, a ruling party MP, on the island of Ikaria, according to a photo that soon went viral on social media. 

Greek opposition parties condemned the premier's disregard for the rules. 

Socialist KINAL party in a statement called the lunch "provocative and insulting" to the Greek people.

Former Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition Syriza party, accused his successor of "doing what he wants" once again. 

Mitsotakis had faced criticism in early December over a mountain bike trip deemed to have violated the government's strict lockdown measures. 

"Τhe wise man does not make the same mistake twice. It is not a repeated action of carelessness, but it shows deep arrogance.... 'I am the power and I do what I want'. Why? 'Because I can'," Tsipras said, on Instagram.

On Sunday, government spokesman Christos Tarantilis hit back.

"At a time when the national vaccination program is unfolding, demanding the support of all political parties, Mr Tsipras chooses the tactics of division and disorientation", he said in a statement. 

Tarantilis stressed that the meal took place "in the open air" with masks only removed while eating. 

"In future (however) ... every possible effort will be made to avoid giving a false image," he added.

kan/chv/har

© Agence France-Presse