Opposition parties have accused the government of corruption and nepotism following the appointment on Wednesday of the economist Stelios Pappas, the father of Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, as the new president of the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH).
In a statement, conservative New Democracy opposition said that Pappas had been randomly selected for the position through a lottery process, a sarcastic allusion to the left-led government’s recent decision to scrap a long tradition of honoring top pupils by picking them to carry the national flag in school parades in favor of a system where flag-bearers will be chosen by lot – a move that has been portrayed as part of SYRIZA’s alleged assault on excellence.
In a message on Twitter, New Democracy vice president Adonis Georgiadis said that the controversial appointment “showed that [SYRIZA officials] never really believed what they said and this is not [German Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schaeuble’s fault.”
The left-wing party came to power in 2015 on a pledge to fight graft and corruption in the public sector.
PASOK socialists and the centrist To Potami party issued similar statements.
Reacting to criticism from the opposition, the Transport Ministry issued a statement saying that Pappas’s appointment was part of the government’s efforts to purge OASTH of corruption, and accused the conservative party of seeking to “protect the perks of its own boys” in the organization.