Belgium’s gay Prime Minister is being accused of trivializing his job by appearing topless in pictures.
While Elio Di Rupo’s physique is nothing to be ashamed of, the 62-year-old has angered rival politicians who have criticized him for being ‘shameless’ and ‘outrageous’.
In a documentary to be screened on Belgian television this week, a three-second clip of the popular Socialist leader changing his shirt is caught on camera.
It was from a national day last July that saw the inauguration of the country’s new King Philippe.
‘It’s outrageous. I am ashamed for our country Belgium,’ said Alain Destexhe, a liberal Member of Parliament.
‘In which country in the world would a head of state or prime minister stoop so much to devalue and trivialize his function?
‘Imagine if Obama, Hollande, Rajoy, Merkel or Cameron undressed before a camera.’
‘This is the epitome of indecency for me,’ broadcaster Emmanuelle Praet said on RTL TV.
‘Why is that the Prime Minister needs to get naked to talk about his political message? This is outrageous.’
A spokesman for Di Rupo’s office said the pictures were ‘respectful’ and noted the pictures were taken on a hot day.
‘It was hot, and the Prime Minister benefited for a break between the inauguration and the parade to change his shirt. It was a fleeting moment that lasted only three seconds.’
Following the retired Iceland Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Di Rupo became the second openly gay world leader in 2011.
Born in 1951 in a migrant shanty town to an Italian coalminer father and illiterate mother, Di Rupo became Belgium’s first Socialist prime minister since the seventies and is one of the most popular leaders in recent memory.