Greece’s new tourism minister sworn in as predecessor prepares for European elections

Thanassis Theocharopoulos, leader of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party in Greece, was sworn in on Saturday as the country’s new tourism minister in a ceremony here at the Presidential Mansion, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Theocharopoulos was appointed to the post after his predecessor Elena Kountoura resigned earlier this week in order to focus on her campaign for the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Several MPs and mayors have resigned in recent weeks from their posts to concentrate on the campaign for the European ballot slated for May 26 in Greece.

Theocharopoulos, 40, holds a MSc in Agricultural Engineering and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics.

Tourism, a traditionally strong pillar of the Greek economy, has been a key driver in Greece’s efforts to deal with the debt crisis in the past decade.

Greece welcomed more than 30 million visitors last year, setting a new all-time record, and the trend is positive also this year, according to experts from the tourism industry.

“We are working together to promote realistic Left solutions for society’s problems. We are moving forward with decisiveness and boldness,” Theocharopoulos told Greek national broadcaster ERT outside the Presidential Mansion, commenting on his party’s decision to cooperate with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA ahead of the European elections.

Currently DIMAR, a small social democratic party, holds one seat in the 300-member strong Greek parliament. Theocharopoulos is the party’s only MP. The next general elections in Greece will be held in October 2019, as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.