Launching a parliamentary debate on corruption on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused the opposition parties of perpetuating graft that brought the Greek economy to its knees and said they had no right to berate his government which was doing the best it could to clean up the mess.
"Today you will apologize for the lies and slander, but chiefly for your actions, because you did not appear in political life yesterday," Tsipras said in comments targeting the leader of New Democracy Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of "choosing to escape" last time corruption was on the agenda in Parliament and lashed out at both him and PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata over corruption scandals in which their parties have been embroiled over the years.
Mitsotakis hit back, calling Tsipras a "ruthless populist" and accusing him of arrogance and his government of dividing society. "You have already failed, you are already defeated and that's why you react in that way," Mitsotakis said, referring to Tsipras's fiery speech. "What will you leave behind when you abandon power?" he added. "The third, unnecessary memorandum? The cuts to pensions? A new system of corruption?" Mitsotakis said.
As for the government's controversial auction of television licenses, which excluded some existing channels and brought in two new entrepreneurs, Mitsotakis said "it will be taught at universities as an example of corruption in practice."