Nikos Sakellariou announced Wednesday he was stepping down as president of Greece’s highest administrative court, in the first such resignation in the court's history.
In a 3-page public statement, Sakellariou said his decision was in protest at recent leaks of classified information on Council of State sessions deliberating the legitimacy of the so-called Katrougalos law which introduced a recalculation of pensions.
The top judge said he had been unable to control this “unthinkable and unacceptable” breach of confidentiality, adding that it had seriously undermined the image of the court.
“It does not allow me to perform my judicial duties with the due calm and sobriety,” he said, adding he was resigning with a clear conscience.
Sakellariou said he had from early on pointed out that several aspects of Greece’s bailout agreement were “not compatible” with the Constitution and that economic exigencies had taken a toll on the country’s institutions, undermining the rule of law and the welfare state.
Asked whether he had been pressured by the government or others over his work he replied negatively, adding “I am not one of those who are pressured.”
He said he has confidence in the court's judges to “rise to the occasion, responding to the historic tradition of the Court.”
The government will have to appoint a new president by the end of June.
Sakellariou has served in the Council of State since 1977 and was selected by the current administration to head the court on 22 October 2015.