A social and political outrage sparked on Tuesday, after Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis accused an New Democracy candidate for the European Parliament of making use of disability provisions in order to get a job in the public sector as he is a person with special needs.
34-year-old Stelios Kymbouropoulos who works as psychiatrist at the Greek national health service ESY was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a child.
Apparently in support of ND policy to cut social benefits and Christmas bonuses, Kymbouropoulos wrote on social media that he “never wanted favors or benefits” but that he “claims equal opportunities.”
— S. Kympouropoulos (@Kympouropoulos) April 21, 2019
Polakis responded with another post in which he accused the MEP candidate of abusing equal opportunities laws for a job in the public sector.
“If you had been looking for EQUAL opportunities, Mr. Kymbouropoulos, you would have put in the paperwork to be appointed to… ESY on the judgment of a council,” like every other doctor, Polakis wrote.
Within minutes, the social media got on fire and soon the issue turned political.
Internet users accused Polakis of being “vulgar” and “immoral” for attacking a person with special needs.
Others, among them also people with special needs or cancer patients turned against the MEP candidate saying that they need the benefits as they cannot otherwise support themselves and their families. Some noted that Kymbouropoulos’ parents may have had enough money to not depend on social benefits but that there were people with no financial resources.
While the war of words, the pro and contra arguments took unprecedented dimensions on social media, politicians took advantage of the issue and jumped in.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that he will file a censure motion against the Alternate health Minister.
Criticism to Polakis came also from his own party, with former Education Minister Nikos Filis to say that Polakis’ comments does not represent the “ethos of SYRIZA.”
The National Confederation of People with Disabilities said it will file a lawsuit against the minister for his “racist comment.”
The Medical Association of Athens condemned the attack against one of its members.
Kymbouropoulos rose to prominence at the age of 14 for becoming the first wheelchair-bound honor student to carry the Greek flag in the annual school parade on the October 28 national holiday. He graduated from the Athens School of Medicine with honors in 2012 and was appointed as a psychiatric attendant at Attica General Hospital in 2016.
PS Why do I have the feeling that the MEP candidate has little knowledge of the dirty games of politics?