NEWS

Minister’s job on the line over racist tweets

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The head of the junior coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, said on Wednesday that one of his MPs, who was sworn in as deputy transport minister just a few hours earlier, would resign pending a probe into a series of racist tweets.

The move came after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reportedly asked the Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader to determine the authenticity of several racist and homophobic tweets that appeared on the account of the new minister, Dimitris Kammenos.

The latter’s appointment had fueled an outraged response on Twitter, where Kammenos was known for his racist comments. It also provoked a political reaction, with SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis and lawmaker Vassiliki Katrivanou publicly expressing their disapproval.

After the outcry, Dimitris Kammenos issued an apology but also claimed that his Twitter account had been handled by more than 15 aides and suggested it had been hacked. Mega TV reported that the police’s Cyber Crime Unit has been asked to determine whether his Twitter account was indeed violated. The account was deactivated following the decision on Kammenos’s cabinet appointment and then reactivated late on Wednesday.

Kammenos’s appointment was a bone of contention between Tsipras and his coalition partner, Kathimerini understands. It seems the ANEL leader was intent on having the MP in the cabinet and that Tsipras initially resisted but then agreed.