Minister’s comment casts a shadow

Comments allegedly made by the merchant marine minister, likening the government to characters in a traditional children’s shadow puppet theater, were yesterday played down by the government and Manolis Kefaloyiannis himself. Reports yesterday claimed that the minister had told a group of journalists that politicians are like the fictional Karaghiozis character, a mischievous hunchback, because they help «maintain the sick climate of corruption that dominates the country.» Kefaloyiannis issued a statement saying his comments had been «misinterpreted» and that journalists had been trying to «create an impression which is not connected to the truth of what I said.» «Today’s government has made a huge effort in this area [fighting corruption],» the minister added. Government sources, however, told Kathimerini that the ruling conservatives were very concerned about the comments allegedly made by Kefaloyiannis as they came at a time when most of the media is focused on PASOK’s internal problems. Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias displayed some of the frustration felt by government officials. «I would like to believe Mr Kefaloyiannis did not call himself a ‘Karaghiozis’ or say that the government was full of them because if he did then he should have already left the government,» Souflias said.