Polakis sparks fresh outrage with criticism of wheelchair-bound MEP candidate

Polakis sparks fresh outrage with criticism of wheelchair-bound MEP candidate

Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis has sparked a fresh social media storm with comments that were branded by users as “immoral” and “vulgar” after he appeared to accuse an opposition candidate in the European elections of using his disability to get a job in the public sector.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Polakis accused 34-year-old New Democracy candidate Stelios Kymbouropoulos, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a child, of abusing equal hiring laws in order to be appointed to the Greek national health service (ESY).

“If you had been looking for EQUAL opportunities, Mr. Kymbouropoulos, you would have put in the paperwork to be appointed to… ESY on the judgment of a council,” Polakis said in the controversial post, which was written in response to a social media message from the conservative candidate defending his position in the public sector.

“I thought there would be some limit to the venality; I was wrong,” ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning, responding to Polakis' comments.

“Shame on you Mr. Tsipras for keeping the unscrupulous Polakis in your government,” the conservative chief added, addressing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Kymbouropoulos rose to prominence at the age of 14 for becoming the first wheelchair-bound honor student to carry the Greek flag in the annual school parade on the October 28 national holiday. He went on to graduate from the Athens School of Medicine with honors in 2012 and was appointed as a psychiatric attendant at Attica General Hospital in 2016.

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