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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsFormer Greek Minister Theodoros Pangalos Dies at 84

Former Greek Minister Theodoros Pangalos Dies at 84

Theodoros Pangalos
Theodoros Pangalos: the larger-than-life politician was a leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Credit: AMNA

Theodoros Pangalos, one of the most influential and controversial politicians of modern Greece, died on Wednesday in Athens. He was 84.

His family announced his death through social media.

Pangalos was almost always in the public eye. The larger-than-life politician was a leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, responsible for the coordination of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) and the new Economic & Social Policy Committee from 2009 to 2012.

Theodoros Pangalos and his controversial quote

One of his controversial quotes at the time when the economic crisis in Greece was in full swing was: “Mazi ta fagame”, literally meaning “we ate them together”, meaning “we are all responsible for the debt”.

The above quote is still used in Greece to highlight the view that Greek people were responsible for the era of bailouts, by consuming more than they produced.

His words caused a huge outcry and were used against him and politicians in general. Pangalos, who was tall and overweight, had been verbally and physically attacked, with critics throwing yogurt at him in public.

When he retired from public office in 2012 he was asked whether the mainstream parties in Greece could pull the country out of its worst economic crisis in several decades. Pangalos said: “Of course not. That’s why I am retiring.”

Pangalos was born in Eleusis, Greece. He is the grandson of General (and 1926 dictator) Theodoros Pangalos.

He was a member of the left-wing Lambrakis Youth and, in 1964, a candidate for the Hellenic Parliament with the United Democratic Left (EDA). Pangalos opposed the 1967 military dictatorship and was deprived by the junta of his Greek citizenship in 1968.

He became a member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), rising to its Central Committee, before eventually joining the PASOK socialist party during the late 70s.

He was elected for the first time as an MP in the 1981 general election with PASOK and was continuously re-elected until 2012.

In 1996 he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and held the post until his resignation in 1999, in the aftermath of the scandal involving the leader of PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by the EU, Abdullah Ocalan.

Ocalan, helped by individual members of the Greek intelligence agencies, entered Greece illegally and was then deported to Kenya, where he was captured by Turkish agents after leaving the Greek embassy at Nairobi.

Pangalos was briefly made Minister for Culture in 2000, an appointment which was widely criticized, in view of his previous statement against artists who had protested his handling of the Ocalan affair.

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