A new row has broken out between the government and SYRIZA after Attica regional councilors came to blows late on Friday at a meeting to discuss the approval of regeneration plans for the site of the Astir Palace hotel in Vouliagmeni, southern Athens.
Coming a few days after the government had short-listed four companies for the tender of the Astir Palace, which is expected to raise about 300 million euros for state coffers, the altercation, which involved Attica Governor Yiannis Sgouros and two SYRIZA MPs, is sure to be a hot political topic for days to come. Video footage of the incident shows councilors physically attacking each other.
Sgouros accused leftist lawmakers Dimitris Tsoukalas and Stathis Panagoulis of causing the trouble after they allegedly launched a verbal attack on the governor for asking councilors to vote on whether to approve plans for one of the four buildings on the Astir Palace site to be knocked down and turned into apartments.
“Some people believe that when they have a different opinion they can swear at and intimidate others just because they claim to do so in the name of society,” said Sgouros. “This way of thinking is dangerous for society and democracy.”
The incident prompted New Democracy and PASOK to slam SYRIZA over the involvement of its two MPs. “It seems that SYRIZA lawmakers are finally putting into action Mr Tsipras’s plans to deter investors,” said PASOK in a statement.
The leftist party responded by accusing its opponents of “mudslinging and propaganda.”