Former PM Lucas Papademos injured in car explosion

Lucas Papademos, a former central bank chief, admitted to hospital in Athens after being targeted by explosive device.

Papademos was Greece's caretaker PM until elections in May 2012 [Reuters]
Papademos was Greece's caretaker PM until elections in May 2012 [Reuters]

Lucas Papademos, Greece’s former prime minister and ex-central bank chief, has been injured after an explosive device hidden in an envelope went off inside his car in the capital, Athens.

Papademos, 69, on Thursday sustained “several superficial wounds on his chest, abdomen and thighs”, but his condition is stable and his injuries are not life-threatening, according to a statement by Evangelismos Hospital.

He was taken to the hospital in central Athens, along with his driver and security officer who suffered “light superficial injuries” in the blast and were being kept in hospital for “precautionary reasons”, said the statement.

Papademos, who was sitting at the back of the car, was hurt when the booby-trapped package he opened exploded. The driver and security officer were sitting in the two front seats.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack was widely condemned by politicians from all major Greek parties, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is in Brussels for a NATO summit.

“I unequivocally condemn the attack against Lucas Papademos. I wish a speedy recovery to him and the people who accompanied him,” Tsipras wrote in a message on Twitter.

Papademos, known more as a technocrat and an economist than a politician, was catapulted to the forefront of Greece’s debt crisis when he was coaxed into briefly becoming caretaker prime minister from November 2011 until elections in May 2012, fusing a fragile governing coalition between socialists and conservatives.

He has also served as vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Mario Draghi, the ECB president, also condemned the attack: “We are saddened by the attack against our former colleague, Lucas Papademos, a brave public servant of Greece and Europe.”

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As to why Papademos may be targeted, Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said “he was prime minister during a very controversial period during the Greek bailout”.

“During that time, two controversial things happened: Minimum wage was lowered by 20 percent, which is an act that is still talked about in controversial terms; and Greece discounted its bonds by 75 percent, which means that most of the value of those bonds held by private entities, including pension funds, was wiped out,” Psaropoulos said.

“Essentially, that bankrupted the pension funds, meaning they have been supported by the government ever since. Those two acts are considered to have been done by Papademos, who was an unelected prime minister.”

Suspect packages

Greece has a history of small-scale attacks against politicians, businesses and police.

In March, police intercepted eight suspect packages at a postal sorting centre in Athens, days after letter bombs were sent to the German finance ministry and the International Monetary Fund in France’s capital, Paris.

The rigged package to the IMF exploded, injuring an employee, while the one sent to Germany was detected by scanners.

A Greek group called Conspiracy of Fire Cells claimed responsibility for the first suspect package sent to Germany and intercepted on March 15

Greece remains in recession with the highest unemployment rate in Europe, and a stalled creditor review has interrupted payouts under its international bailout programme, its third since 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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