Former Greek Prime Minister expels blind politician

blind politician

Former Prime Minister of Greece, Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras has expelled MP Panagiotis Kouroublis from his party on Thursday evening after he was censured by the plenary of Parliament for inappropriate behaviour.

Tsipras conveyed the decision in a letter read to the plenary by one of Parliament’s vice presidents, Odysseas Konstantinopoulos.

The controversy arose during debate for the 2022 draft state budget, when the MP and former shipping minister spoke of people who died of coronavirus in the intensive care units (ICUs) and charged the government with “murdering people, thousands of people were murdered”. He also told the ruling New Democracy party that it was shameful to deny that the prime minister had no knowledge of the crimes taking place in ICUs, and cited the death of a friend. He then refused to withdraw his statements when one of the vice presidents of Parliament asked him to, which led to his censure by the body.

Parliament President Constantine Tassoulas, who initiated the censure, condemned the statements and said they “undermined Parliament’s standing”. He added that they should not be excised from the minutes but remain “as the worst possible example of a behavior we unanimously condemn.”

Panagiotis Kouroumblis  is a Greek politician of Syriza. On 27 January 2015 he was appointed the Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in the First Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras.  On 23 September 2015, he became the Minister of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction in the Second Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras.

Blinded at age 10 from the explosion of a German hand-grenade, a remnant of World War II, Kouroumblis took part in a number of student and popular struggles, and eventually became the leader of a “social uprising” of the blind. He is a founding member of the World Blind Union and worked more generally in the areas of children protection, care for the elderly and people with disabilities.