Apparently America isn’t the only place where seaborne monkey business can torpedo a prominent politician. According to the opposition paper Eleftheros Typos, during a weekend last month in which he was supposedly sequestered because of a “heavy work load,” Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, 68, was actually yachting in the Aegean, and he wasn’t with his American-born wife, Margaret, 64. Instead, his companion was a woman he’d met last year, Dimitra Liani, a former flight attendant who’s somewhere in her 30s. The couple’s itinerary included sailing with another twosome to the island of Kythnos, where the four proceeded to drink and dance at a local taverna until the wee hours. The party shifted to the island of Sifnós on Sunday, with similar results.
That Papandreou enjoys extra-state affairs is not the kind of news guaranteed to topple the Parthenon. Rumors of his past trysts have been stoically tolerated by the Greeks. But with the Liani escapade, Papandreou, who has held office since 1981, may finally be offered the hemlock. Some supporters are telling him that he’s losing his sense of discretion. Margaret, his wife of 36 years, has reportedly left their home. By not denying stories of the nautical jaunt, he has triggered a storm of headlines. As the magazine Ena points out, no one can stretch “the 12 hours during which society isn’t sleeping into 24. Not even a Prime Minister, especially one close to 70. At his age one needs calm, sleep, moderation in food and, even more, moderation in drink.” Politicians everywhere, take note.