Education Minister Kostas Gavroglou admitted press reports that he opted-out of military service, which is compulsory in Greece.
Speaking to state TV ERT, Gavroglou described his decision as “personal”.
“It was my personal decision, everyone can judge it as they wish […] It’s an insignificant little scandal,” he said characteristically, trying to play down press reports.
In the same interview, the minister launched a counter-attack against some of the media and the opposition saying that they orchestrated a “character assassination” attempt.
According to the media reports, Gavroglou made use of a 1970 ruling by the military junta, which allowed those born in Istanbul and studying abroad to opt out of their military service by paying a not so insignificant fee.
The reports mention that the minister used the ruling and avoided his military service by paying 3.200 drachmas (a significant amount of money for a middle class household at the time) in 1971.
The reason this alleged revelation has caused a political uproar by the opposition, is because the minister was the signatory of last week’s ruling, according to which flag bearers in Greek schools will be no longer selected by their school achievements, but by a draw.
During the parliamentary debate, Gavroglou stated that “everyone serves in the army, not just the ‘A’ students”. Based on this statement, the opposition is accusing the minister of cynicism and hypocrisy.