Greek MP kicked out of Mitsotakis' party over migrant boat comment
Spilios Kriketos is kicked out of Mitsotakis' party after saying Greece cannot tolerate more migrants, accusing them of stealing.
Right-wing Greek lawmaker Spilios Kriketos was expelled from former prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' New Democracy (ND) party, over his remarks after the mass drowning of migrants on a boat on June 14.
His comments come as the Greek coastguard continues its search for survivors from the boat that capsized carrying migrants, killing at least 78 people.
Officials state that hopes of finding survivors are fading "by the minute". 104 people from the boat have been rescued as of yet.
Kriketos condemned the "tragic" event, which included "children", claiming in an interview with the Kontra Youtube channel that Greece "cannot tolerate more migrants". However, he then proceeded to accuse migrants of stealing, which caused the ND party to expel him.
In its statement, the party said, "Opinions such as those expressed by Spilios Kriketos have no place in our party," adding, "Statements of hate and racism are not part of the party's values."
Trouble ahead of elections
This comes in light of the June 25 legislative elections due next week, in which the MP is running.
Syriza, the main leftist opposition party labeled the comments as "racist" and called for his expulsion.
The ND party has always called for "security" and border lockdowns as it follows a strict immigration policy. "New Democracy implemented a strict but fair immigration policy, keeping the borders but protecting human life and saving thousands of people who were in danger at sea," the party stated.
The boat that capsized off the coast of Greece, killing at least 78 people, is said to have been being dragged by the Greek Coast Guard at the time.— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) June 16, 2023
Hundreds are still missing...pic.twitter.com/s3YuEgJ5Um
"It's really horrific," UNHCR staffer Erasmia Roumana said as quoted by AFP at the port of Kalamata, stressing that the survivors were "in a very bad psychological situation."
"Many are in shock, they are so overwhelmed," she said. "Many of them worry about the people they traveled with, families or friends. They want to call their families and tell them that they arrived."
According to UN estimates, over 72,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in the Mediterranean countries of Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus so far this year. Greece has traditionally served as a major transit point for individuals fleeing war, persecution, and poverty in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.