Greek TV satirist Lakis Lazopoulos said he won’t accept an offer from the main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) to run on its ticket in May’s European Parliament elections.
Lazopoulos, a grandiose actor who has a habit of trying to upstage everyone else, said he didn’t turn it down for political reasons but because of his workload and other professional obligations.
Lazopoulos, who often opines on political and societal issues during his TV show, wrote a letter to the newspaper Avgi to explain his reason and took a shot – without naming him – at rival former TV presenter Stavros Theodorakis, whose new party To Potami has already leapfrogged established mainstream groups to third place in polls.
“The Greek system, in panic over the current situation, is running with a backpack on its shoulders just to stop going backwards,” he wrote in reference to the frenzy over the elections and those for Greek municipalities.
Polls show SYRIZA ahead of the ruling New Democracy conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who warned that a leftist victory could undo what he said is the country’s coming recovery from a crushing economic crisis, albeit one largely caused by his party and its coalition partner, the fast-fading PASOK socialists.
“I know that, at this hour, anyone who is not a government plant is useful for the country. But I have so many obligations that is impossible to put them aside and accept this invitation. Allow me, at this stage at least, to express my inability to place any powers I may have at the service of my country and continue to be a servant of art, as I have been all these years,” Lazopoulos said.
“There are many people with moral fiber in this country that can contribute to opening a new path for Europe. I’m not necessary. I don’t want to become like those fat intellectuals that are always on TV. Those who cost our country its ability to have a say in the European Union. Those who proclaimed themselves our saviors a while after,” he said.
He added: “I will continue to watch and to participate actively in the life of this country in my current capacity,” that being a TV personality. It is commonplace in Greece for political parties to pepper their membership with journalists, celebrities, sports stars and those outside of politics to expand their appeal.