Private and public

The chronicle of a foretold resignation was played out yesterday. Alekos Papadopoulos, who had expressed his desire to stay and complete his work at the Health Ministry and then withdraw from politics, succumbed to the rules of the game and submitted his resignation without raising the slightest objection. Leaving the premier’s office, he thanked Costas Simitis for «trusting him and appointing him in three key ministries» without dropping any hint or making any allusions – typical on similar occasions. This was something PASOK officials were afraid of, as they thought that Papadopoulos might be tempted to return the low blows that were cast by his Socialist colleagues immediately after his much-discussed interview with Kathimerini. The climate during the meeting between the two men was said to be moderately good – possibly because Simitis was taken by the aforementioned fear. The premier expressed his regret over the event, asked for Papadopoulos’s resignation and it seemed that the whole thing would be left at that. But shortly after the announcement of the «resignation» and the minister’s laconic remarks, a non-paper was circulated through the fax of the press minister’s office which said that Simitis spoke of «unacceptable behavior» and a «politically condemnable act,» that the government wants cadres who are eager to work and who do not perceive their mandate as an unbearable burden, that «a minister’s private issues have political weight and that the handling of personal issues has political consequences as well.»