Dhe corruption scandal surrounding Eva Kaili is a blow to Greek politics and even more so to the opposition, once proud socialist Pasok, of which Kaili was a member until she was expelled from the party at the weekend. The Pasok, which has been in government for more than twenty years since 1981, has only 22 of the 300 MPs in the Athens Parliament and is now going into the new elections, which are expected to take place in the second quarter of 2023, with a heavy burden.
There is concern in Athens as to whether a further lead in the corruption case could lead to Margaritis Schinas, one of the Vice Presidents of the EU Commission. Schinas had traveled to Qatar with Kaili, Deputy Vice-President of the European Parliament, and he too had made positive statements about the “significant and tangible progress on labor reforms” in Qatar.
The corruption scandal has also shaken Greek politics because Kaili was considered one of the most respected figures in Greek politics, especially since she managed her rise to power without much support from the party or even against resistance. Most recently, Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis insulted them as the “Trojan horse” of the ruling Nea Dimokratia in the left-wing Pasok founded in 1974 by Andreas Papandreou.
They have a long history with Androulakis. They were dating for over a year. When their private paths parted, they found themselves on different wings of Pasok, and when the party was looking for a new leader in late 2021, it backed not Androulakis but his competitor Andreas Loverdos. Because he advocates cooperation between the socialist Pasok and the conservative Nea Dimokratia. Androulakis, on the other hand, does not want to join a government led by New Democracy as a junior partner. Rather, he hopes that he can turn Pasok back into a people’s party as an independent force, which it no longer is.
Kailis’ rift with her former partner Androulakis deepened this year during a wiretapping scandal. The Greek secret service had been spying on Androulakis and other politicians for months, which caused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis temporary distress. However, Kaili downplayed the incident in a European Parliament investigative committee. At the end of September, Andoulakis announced that he would no longer nominate Kaili in the European elections.
Kaili is a well-known face in Greece, she was seen as a promising political talent. She was born in Thessaloniki in 1978, studied architecture, and at the age of 26 she was elected to the Thessaloniki city council. She became known nationwide as an anchorwoman on Mega TV. Then she used her popularity for a political career. From 2007 to 2012 she was a member of the Parliament in Athens for Pasok.
Then her fellow party member Evangelos Venizelos took away the constituency and she had to bake smaller buns in a research institute in Athens. In 2014, Kaili moved to the European Parliament. Politically and financially things went uphill. According to the income and assets register of the Athens Parliament, their savings more than quintupled between 2013 and 2020 alone.