Theodoros Pangalos (politician)

For his namesake grandfather, see Theodoros Pangalos (general).
Theodoros Pangalos
Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος
Deputy Prime Minister of Greece
In office
7 October 2009  17 May 2012
Serving with Evangelos Venizelos (2011–2012)
Prime Minister George Papandreou
Lucas Papademos
Preceded by Tzannis Tzannetakis (1993)
Succeeded by Evangelos Venizelos
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
22 January 1996  18 February 1999
Prime Minister Costas Simitis
Preceded by Karolos Papoulias
Succeeded by George Papandreou
Personal details
Born (1938-08-17) 17 August 1938
Eleusis, Greece
Political party United Democratic Left (Formerly)
Communist Party (Formerly)
Panhellenic Socialist Movement

Theodoros Pangalos (Greek: Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος, born 17 August 1938) is a Greek politician, and leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, responsible for the coordination of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) and the new Economic & Social Policy Committee from 2009 to 2012 [1]

Early life

Pangalos was born in Eleusis, Greece. He is the grandson of General and 1926 dictator Theodoros Pangalos. He is of Arvanite origin.[2][3]

Pangalos was member of the left-wing Lambrakis Youth and, in 1964, a candidate for the Hellenic Parliament with the United Democratic Left (EDA). Pangalos opposed the 1967 military dictatorship, and was deprived by the junta of his Greek citizenship in 1968.

Political career

He became a member of the Communist Party of Greece, rising to its Central Committee, before eventually joining the PASOK socialist party during the Metapolitefsi. He was elected for the first time as a MP in the 1981 general election with PASOK and has been continuously re-elected since.

In 1996 he was appointed as a Minister for Foreign Affairs and held the post until his resignation in 1999, in the aftermath of the scandal involving the Kurdish nationalist leader, Abdullah Öcalan: helped by individual members of the Greek intelligence agencies Öcalan entered Greece illegally and was then deported to Kenya, where he was captured by Turkish agents after leaving the Greek embassy at Nairobi.

He was briefly made Minister for Culture in 2000, an appointment which was widely criticized, in view of his previous statement that artists who had protested his handling of the Öcalan affair were 'kouradomanges' (turd tough guys).[4] According to the Panhellenic Socialist Movement-leaning daily newspaper To Vima, Theodoros Pangalos resolved an administrative dispute with a Greek diplomatic official by "punching him to the ground" when the employee in question offered a handshake.[4]


Theodoros Pangalos is famous for his colorful language and insulting comments about political opponents and foreign dignitaries.

In 1989, he threatened "to turn the [Greek] parliament into Beijing,[5] a reference to the recent Tiananmen Square massacre in the face of a political understanding between the Right and the Left for the formation of government. Ten years later, he described the Greek parliament as being composed of "Kenyan delegates" in reaction to the outcry brought about by his mismanagement of the Öcalan affair.

In 1997, he described the Turkish establishment as "murderers, rapists and thieves" in the midst of disagreements over the Turkish candidacy for entry into the European Union.[6][7][8] Six months earlier, Theodoros Pangalos had, in sharp contrast to his later statements, declared that "Turkey certainly belongs in Europe, as it is a part of European history".[7]

He is also known to regularly express opinions which contradict the official stance of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement while he has used strong language against numerous politicians including Georgios Alogoskoufis, the former Minister for Economy and Finance with the New Democracy party.

When in the course of the global financial crisis of 2007–2010 the Greek state became unable to service its debt, Pangalos demanded reparations from Germany for the war crimes committed during World War II as an alternative to the austerity measures demanded by the nation's creditors. Yet in 2010, he angered Greeks when, responding to claims that the misappropriation of state funds had led to the country's insolvency, he spoke out in favor of austerity measures and accused all citizens with the words "Mazi ta fagame" ("We all ate it together [i.e., we are all responsible for the debt])".[9]

Pangalos has stated on numerous occasions that he fights Greece's corner at every opportunity.[10]

His year then further deteroriated when he was caught stating that Greeks are lazy and Turks are hard workers while on an official visit to Turkey where he was supposed to be promoting Greek banks investing in Turkey. Once again he denied he had made these comments or given an interview to Hurriyet and finally accused his accusers of lying. ND spokesman Yiannis Michelakis labeled Panagalos as being “out of control” and called for some action. [11] Pangalos also said he would sue the Eleftheros Typos newspaper over its report, which labeled him a “liar.” Things than got even worse for Pangalos as the Turkish journalist had actually recorded him making the remarks in question and thus ending the debate.[12]

In 2014, Pangalos insulted Rena Dourou, Syriza's candidate for regional governor of Attica, stating in a radio interview that he could not stand seeing posters of Ms. Dourou’s "filthy face" all over Athens and that he preferred "to see her campaign complete with a full-body picture of her with a bikini."[13]

A Greek experimental pop band named Plastic Flowers sampled his famous speech 'Mazi ta fagame' in their song 'Sinking ship-vanished crew'.[14][15]


Political offices
Preceded by
Karolos Papoulias
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
George Papandreou
Title last held by
Tzannis Tzannetakis
Deputy Prime Minister of Greece
Served alongside: Evangelos Venizelos (2011–2012)
Succeeded by
Evangelos Venizelos
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