The Court of Appeal of Thessaloniki ordered one year imprisonment with suspension of execution within three years for the Governor of Central Macedonia. Panagiotis Psomiadis was convicted of breach while performing his duties and, in particular, for excusing a fine of a businessman caught several times for making fake fuels.
The trial was postponed again on the 6th of October last year because of the inability of the Governor’s defender to attend it. The businessman was sentenced on the 13th of February to 12 months imprisonment with suspended sentence.
Under the current law, Panagiotis Psomiadis should suspend the implementation of his activities until the Supreme Court announces its final order. If the Areopagus also finds him guilty he will be not entitled to run for any public position.
Until the Minister of the Interior Yannis Ragousis orders for revocation of rights or a final dismissal of the Governor, the post will be taken by his deputy. In this case it will be the brother of the Governor, Dionysis Psomiadis.
After the final dismissal or disempowering for a period of six months or one year depending on the decision of the Minister, the district councilors will vote for the election of a new governor.
Shortly after the announcement of the order, in an interview for Zougla Radio the President of the LAOS party George Karadzaferis made clear hints on the court order. He emphasized that the judges have not taken into account the fact that Panagiotis Psomiadis won the district authorities of Central Macedonia only a few months ago, having 53% of the voters voted for him. He added that those voters were completely aware of the case and ruled their judgment as citizens. George Karadzaferis even recalled a phrase of the former Prime Minister and father of the present Andreas Papandreou that "the people are the only juror."
So far, Panagiotis Psomiadis did not wish to make a statement on the order of the Court of Appeal. The post in zougla.gr said that the President of LAOS has made allusions about the position of the President of New Democracy with the ballot of which the Governor was elected. George Karadzaferis said that although he has made public statements in support of Panagiotis Psomiadis before the trial on Thursday, Antonis Samaras has not done the same.
According to the President of LAOS, the court vicissitude of the Governor will have a positive impact on his political career because it will increase his influence among the voters as the court order will make him a hero in their eyes.
Completely different, however, are the views of New Democracy functionaries in Thessaloniki, who even believe that the situation is the "premature end to the political career of Panagiotis Psomiadis."
The former District Governor of Thessaloniki and the current Governor of Central Macedonia Panagiotis Psomiadis is one of the most colourful persons in the political life of Greece. He trained track-and-field athletics when he was a child and was a member of the national team. His professional life included imports of electrical materials and anatomical shoes; he opened a café and in 1990 became the owner of a restaurant with live music, where he sang and entertained the customers.
He got engaged in politics in 1982 when he was elected municipal councilor in Thessaloniki. The next step is the Parliament, for which he was elected as the New Democracy candidate for the first time in 1990 and another 4 consecutive terms. In 2002 he was elected District Governor of Thessaloniki, and his mandate was renewed in the local elections four years later.
Panagiotis Psomiadis is representative of the so-called "people's" right wing, and his positions on national interests often tend even more to the right. His statement made in the air that the military junta was a "revolution" caused a stir in New Democracy. He is enjoying great popularity due to his appearance dressed in a Zorro costume, or to his participations in national festivities, which he often leaves wet or dirty with yogourt.
When the leader of New Democracy had to be elected in 2009, Psomiadis ran to be the "unifying candidate" between the camps of the opponents Antonis Samaras and Dora Bakoyannis, and won 10% of the votes of his party members. He responds to his opponents accusing him of populism with the election results, which often exceed 50% of the vote.