Greek economy minister resigns amid outcry over rent subsidies
Greek Economy Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou resigned from office the same day his wife, Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity Rania Antonopoulou, also stepped down following public outrage over her receipt of rent subsidies, local media reported Tuesday.
Papadimitriou submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Monday night “for reasons of political sensitivity,” according to reports.
Reports published Friday showed that his wife had received €1,000 per month from the government as a subsidy for rent in an apartment in an upscale Athens neighborhood. The subsidy was legal, but the news that a wealthy minister had relied on state benefits sparked outrage in a country still stricken by austerity measures. She resigned Monday, and said she would return the money to the government.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who leads opposition party New Democracy, denounced Tsipras’ Syriza government for taking “three whole days of intense reaction” before demanding Antonopoulou’s resignation and attacked the party for the 2015 law that allowed the couple to claim the subsidy “while the country was sinking.”
The resignations of Papadimitriou and Antonopoulou follow that of Deputy Education Minister Costas Zouraris in January, and take place amid reports that a fourth minister — Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas — may soon be replaced for health reasons. The uncertainty could prompt a reshuffle in Tsipras’ government.