Greek MP and ex-minister, Marietta Giannakou, dies aged 70

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Marietta Giannakou, a former education minister and a veteran lawmaker with the country’s ruling conservative New Democracy party, has died at 70.

The news was announced via a statement from the 251 Hellenic Air Force General Hospital, where she was recently treated.

In response, tributes and expressions of sympathy have poured out immediately from across the political spectrum.

“I am devastated in saying goodbye to our Marietta. A great woman, a good friend and an indomitable fighter,” Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Twitter.

“She never broke down, saying that difficulties had steeled her. And yet, she lost the (latest) of her many battles over her health. It is not easy to accept that this personality, with her calm passion for life and public service, is no longer with us.”

Former socialist Prime Minister, George Papandreou, said Marietta “was a brave woman and politician with a restless and fighting spirit.”

“She was always known for her moral character and her steadfastness to her principles, her ideals and a special, distinctive philosophy of life and the practice of politics,” Papandreou added.

Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, also expressed his condolences to Marietta’s family and said “her death is a great loss for the political life of the country.”

Born on June 6, 1951, Giannakou became active in politics early in the New Democracy youth wing. She served in the Greek parliament from 1993-99, from 2000-2007 and since July 2019. She was also a member of the European Parliament from 1984-1990, 1999-2000 and 2009-2014. She was Minister of Health, Welfare and Social Security from 1990-1991.

As Education Minister from 2004 to 2007, Giannakou came under fire from the left-wing opposition for her proposed university reforms, as well as Greek nationalists over a 6th-grade history book that was considered insufficiently patriotic. In the end, the reforms and the book were shelved.

Giannakou had a history of health problems, including a recent fall at home, a heart attack six years ago and the amputation of a leg in 2008, due to complications from diabetes.

She is survived by her daughter, Zoe.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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