Ten years after her controversial triumph as head of the committee for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greek business woman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki seems as hungry as ever for a slice of public life. She doesn’t mince words when it comes to sharing her political viewpoints with finger-pointing amidst sips of the finest Chardonnay, stating that it wouldn’t be such a disaster if the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) took over the leadership of the country.
She states that SYRIZA represents the new political force in the country after the party’s popularity exploded from 4% to 25%. Nonetheless, contrary to the party’s views on key issues, Ms. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki is in favor of EU measures. As she has said in the past, entering the EU family is like a “bad marriage” that is in need of a “marriage counsellor” rather than a divorce.
The powerful lady blames the late prime minister Andreas Papandreou, socialist PASOK party’s founder, for his catastrophic policies in the Eighties for the dire straits Greece is in. She also blames most of the political officials over the last thirty years, particularly former liberal New Democracy (ND) prime minister Kostas Karamanlis for the escalation of the debt from 2004-2009. She, herself, began her political career in 1986 as a counsellor at the Municipality of Athens with former ND head Miltiadis Evert and entered Greek Parliament in 1990.
These days, despite being interested in politics, especially the role of President of the Republic, Ms. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki feels overlooked. “They are afraid of me,” she says, adding that she would be willing to go to the ends of the world on any national mission for the sake of her country. “They don’t want me, though, because they know that they can’t control me. I don’t know anyone, I have no obligation or any interest for them to hang over me,” she says.
Despite being named as one of the 50 most powerful women by Forbes, she throws the gauntlet at representatives of the government stating that the elite are to blame for the current situation whilst distancing herself from this group.