Greek Agriculture Minister Fired After Joking About Natural Disasters

The Prime Minister of Greece fired the country’s agriculture minister on Monday after a video of him laughing approvingly as another official talked about how compensation payments for natural disasters can help win elections.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement that he spoke to Agriculture Minister Spilios Livanos to demand an explanation over his reaction as shown in the video. 

The statement said Livanos “admitted that he should have reacted differently” and offered his resignation, which Mitsotakis accepted.

The video was taken in Sparta, southern Greece, last week, where he was in a meeting with the mayor.

In the video, the mayor said the party was able to win the 2007 election against the odds “by taking bags (of money) to compensate” people afflicted by wildfires that had ravaged southern Greece weeks earlier, killing scores of people.

Livanos appeared in the video laughing at the statement and commented that it would be hard to match that “epic achievement.” 

In his earlier visit to Sparta, Livanos had announced compensation payments to farmers who suffered crop damage from frost.

Meantime, the governing party expelled Mayor Petros Doukas, saying his remarks “as well as being historically inaccurate, have nothing to do with New Democracy’s principles and values.”

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