Political fallout over rape case gets ugly

Government accuses SYRIZA of using trolls to spread slander while PM initiates House debate

Political fallout over rape case gets ugly

The political controversy that has erupted in the wake of allegations about the former director of the Greek National Theater, Dimitris Lignadis, who is accused of raping minors, will be transferred to Parliament this Thursday at the initiative of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 

Moreover, with recent reports suggesting that the case could only be the tip of the iceberg and social media politicizing the issue – where a hashtag campaign is holding ruling New Democracy responsible for the scandal – deputy party spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said on Monday that the House discussions will focus on the quality and standards of the public debate on the issue.

Peloni stated that the president of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, will be asked to clarify whether he agrees with the tone of the public debate and the #ND_pederasts hashtag on social media.

For his part, Tsipras said the main issue is not the standard of public debate, but the crime itself and the mistakes made by the government. 

In response, the Prime Minister’s Office denounced the leftist leader and his party for “having embarked on an unprecedented campaign of vulgarity.”

“SYRIZA and Mr Tsipras, sometimes openly and sometimes hiding behind their army of trolls on the internet, have reached the extremes of mudslinging, even talking about #ND_pederasts,” the PM’s office statement read. It also accused the opposition of degrading a major issue such as the Greek #metoo movement and pedophile cases – which also concern the 2017-2018 period when SYRIZA was in government – by looking for conspiracies, tantamount to a “Greek QAnon.”

Meanwhile, government sources said legislative initiatives are being drafted to establish a strict “code of conduct” to prevent any form of abuse and cultivate social coexistence and “dignity from all to all.”

With regard to calls by the main opposition party and artists’ unions for Mendoni’s resignation over her handling of the Lignadis case, Peloni said this will not take place. However, she did concede that Mendoni’s remarks last week that Lignadis is a “dangerous” man who “deceived” her, were “unfortunate” as this is something that will be adjudicated by the justice system. Nonetheless, she expressed the government’s support for the culture official, saying that she is a good minister.

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