Mitsotakis defends legality of wiretaps, hits back at SYRIZA over corruption

Mitsotakis defends legality of wiretaps, hits back at SYRIZA over corruption

Greece’s conservative prime minister on Friday defended the legality of the wiretaps undertaken by the national intelligence service (EYP), after the leftist opposition leader described him as a “danger to the nation” for his role in the case that has rattled his administration.

Speaking in Parliament ahead of a no-confidence vote later in the day, Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated past remarks that the surveillance by EYP of Nikos Androulakis, leader of the socialist PASOK party, was “politically not acceptable.” He added that any “murky case will be investigated by judicial authorities,” adding that his government has taken steps to reform EYP.

Mitsotakis questioned the circumstances under which the opposition leader had received information over the wiretappings from the chief of the state’s privacy watchdog ADAE and tried to turn corruption allegations back on to Tsipras, including by mentioning his party’s controversial ties to businessman Christos Kalogritsas. 

The New Democracy leader also accused SYRIZA of “raising the decibels” of political confrontation in order to disguise its poor legacy as government and absence of pragmatic policy proposals ahead of elections later in 2023.

“You can neither talk about the future, nor about the past which is still haunting you,” he said. 

The opposition leader had earlier accused Mitsotakis of personally ordering a series of wiretaps, the targets of which have included senior politicians and military officers.

“You knew very well that the surveillance had occurred, and you knew very well that the surveillance had occurred because you had ordered it, Mr Mitsotakis,” Tsipras said.

“Your stance might have become a joke, but this joke is dangerous for democracy and for the nation,” he said.

The conservatives, who control 156 of the 300 seats in the House, are expected to defeat the motion.

The scandal has dented the image of the ruling party which has nevertheless maintained a solid lead in opinion polls ahead of what is expected to be a double election later this year. An MRP poll released late Thursday showed New Democracy leading SYRIZA by almost six points.

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