PM accepts resignation of Citizens’ Protection Minister Toskas over Attica fires

PM accepts resignation of Citizens’ Protection Minister Toskas over Attica fires

The office of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday that it has accepted the resignation of Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas over last week's fatal fires in Attica.

Toskas repeated the offer to resign he made last week as the state of emergency that had been declared has expired, the premier's office said. 

His duties are to be assumed by Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, it added. 

Toskas, a retired army general, had come under heavy pressure to resign over the catastrophic wildfires which killed at least 88 people.

“This natural disaster and the loss of so many fellow citizens in Mati surpasses my will to continue, which is something I had stated publicly from the first moment,” he said in a statement where he thanked the firefighters, police and army officers and volunteers who saved human lives.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Toskas' showed “courage” in his task. “The courage of a general is not only measured during the battle, but also during the assessment. I warmly thank Nikos Toskas for the honesty and dedication he has shown in carrying out the tasks I have assigned him,” he said in a press release.

Main opposition New Democracy responded critically to the news of the resignation, saying “it is too little and came too late to satisfy public sentiment.”

“Responsibility has a name: Alexis Tsipras. He and his government do not have the courage to assume it, eleven days after the tragedy.”

For his part, To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis said Greeks “paid dearly” for Toskas' tenure.

“The man who could not find any mistakes for the death of at least 85 people in times of peace, eventually resigned,” he said in a tweet. “Greeks have paid dearly for his days at the ministry.”

Following the fires, there are calls for top-ranking officials to assume responsibility on a local authority level too.

Municipal councilors are holding an emergency session calling for the resignation of Marathon Mayor Ilias Psinakis, whom they accuse of negligence.

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