Greek PM caught swearing on camera as he fumbles tax relief speech

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (above) on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, was caught swearing on camera as he fumbled a long-awaited announcement on tax relief. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (above) on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, was caught swearing on camera as he fumbled a long-awaited announcement on tax relief. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ATHENS (AFP) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday was caught swearing on camera as he fumbled a long-awaited announcement on tax relief.

"F*** me, what a w**ker," Mr Samaras said, apparently referring to himself, as he walked away from his podium in frustration before attempting to read the statement again.

The excerpt, apparently from unedited raw footage of the announcement, was broadcast by private Skai TV and rapidly picked up by other media.

"Communications gaffe cracks viewers up," said the leftist Eleftherotypia daily.

Mr Samaras' announcement was on the long-awaited cut of sales tax on restaurants from 23 per cent to 13 per cent.

Greece had been asking its European Union-International Monetary Fund creditors for months for permission to reduce the tax in order to boost sales during the tourist season.

The government hopes concessions from its creditors will reduce public anger over a fourth straight year of cuts.

The Greek Parliament was due to vote on another austerity Bill later on Wednesday.

"I had undertaken to achieve this first great tax reduction for months," Mr Samaras said in the announcement, adding: "It was not easy."