Greece’s governing center-right party evicts lawmaker after airport altercation over flight boarding

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s governing center-right party on Wednesday booted out a lawmaker and former minister who allegedly manhandled an airport worker who wouldn’t let him board a domestic flight he’d turned up late for.

Lefteris Avgenakis, who has held the sports and agriculture portfolios, apologized over the incident earlier this month at Athens International Airport. He denied using physical violence against the employee, saying there had been only “verbal tension.”

Footage on social media from an overhead video purportedly showed Avgenakis, a lawmaker with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party, trying to snatch the employee’s phone during the altercation.

He said he did that because he wanted to speak to the worker’s supervisors “in a last effort” to get on the flight, which he missed.

Parliament Speaker Constantinos Tassoulas imposed a two-week ban on Avgenakis attending legislative sessions, calling his behavior at he airport “unacceptable.”

“I’m aware that (Avgenakis) has apologized publicly, but I cannot accept the apology,” Tassoulas said.

Avgenakis represents a constituency on the southern island of Crete. He indicated Wednesday that he would stay on as an independent lawmaker and would not resign his seat.

Following his eviction, New Democracy will have 157 lawmakers in the 300-seat house.

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