Mitsotakis defends culture minister against calls for resignation

Mitsotakis defends culture minister against calls for resignation

The Greek prime minister has defended his culture minister against calls for her resignation over the handling of an alleged sexual misconduct scandal involving prominent actor and director Dimitris Lignadis.

During an online press briefing on Monday, deputy government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni described Lina Mendoni’s public handling of the issue as “unfortunate,” adding however that the minister still enjoyed the trust of Kyrkiakos Mitsotakis, the conservative leader.

Lignadis, 56, appeared before a court in Athens on Sunday and was given until Wednesday to respond to charges of multiple rapes by an examining magistrate. He will remain jailed until then, court authorities said.

Lignadis resigned on February 6 as the artistic director of Greece’s National Theater amid reports of his alleged behavior. He had been handpicked for the job by Mendoni in August 2019 after she scrapped an open competition for the post.

Several prominent cultural organizations have called for Mendoni’s resignation in recent days. On Monday, members of the Greek actors’ union protested outside the Culture Ministry in Athens.

During Monday’s briefing, the spokesperson said that the government plans to legislate “a code of ethics that will prevent all sorts of abuse.”

Peloni added that the prime minister has asked for a parliamentary debate on the quality of public discourse in the country, which will be held on Thursday.

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