Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during the opening Monday of a parliamentary debate on corruption that his government was trying to clean up the mess created by the parties of the opposition, accusing them of perpetuating graft while they were in office.
The debate, which took place at the request of Tsipras after he was challenged on the subject by conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, unfolded more like a personal duel between both men, with Tsipras referring to his opponent as a “child of vested interests” and demanding that the ND chief apologize for his “lies and slander.”
Mitsotakis responded by accusing the leftist leader of trying to “transform Greece into Venezuela” and challenged him to call elections so that the “Greek people can put an end to the downhill course” forged by the coalition government.
Tsipras and his ruling SYRIZA party have repeatedly blamed New Democracy and PASOK for Greece’s financial woes, citing several high-profile corruption scandals that took place under their watch.
However, ND officials said Monday that they were appalled by the PM’s “unbelievable vulgarity” and accused him of mud slinging, saying that he offered nothing in terms of substance and policy to the debate.
Mitsotakis called the premier a “ruthless populist” who took on the “worst traits” of the country’s post-dictatorship era, slamming him for his “arrogance” and for dividing society.
Mitsotakis also referred to a controversial auction of television licenses, saying that the procedure will be “taught as an example of corruption.”