Conservative New Democracy on Thursday accused the leftist-led government of consistently putting off the demolition of hundreds of illegally-built structures in Athens since it came to power in 2015, presenting Interior Ministry documents ordering "temporary" postponements.
"Under the watch of this government, the execution of irrevocable judicial decisions for the demolition of 1,639 buildings has been postponed for three-and-a-half years," ND's shadow minister for the environment Costas Skrekas said on Thursday, pointing to interior ministry documents.
One of the documents, dated February 17, 2015, and marked "extremely important" calls for the postponement of the planned demolition of an illegally-built property in Perivolakia, near Rafina.
Another, dated October 29 of the same year, calls for the postponement of planned demolitions in forestlands in Spata and Artemida.
"We have seen over the past few days yet another attempt by Mr [Alexis] Tsipras to disclaim all responsibility for the tragedy at Mati, trying to convince the Greek people that town planning violations and illegal construction in recent years are solely to blame," Skrekas said, referring to the coastal settlement in eastern Attica that was ravaged in last week's blazes.
The submission to Parliament of a legislative amendment aimed at accelerating the demolition of hundreds of illegal buildings is part of a general "plan to mislead" the Greek public, he said.
"It is now clear that it is the officials of Mr Tsipras's government themselves that have been obstructing the demolition of [illegal] buildings for three-and-a-half years in spite of irrevocable judicial decisions ordering them," Skrekas said.