ELSTAT probe fuels a political storm

An appeal by financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis for former Prime Minister George Papandreou to be investigated in connection with a probe into claims that the national statistics service artificially inflated the public deficit figure in 2009 has provoked vehement reactions across the political spectrum.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos suggested that drawing the head of the former PASOK government into a parliamentary probe on fraudulent statistics would prompt social upheaval. ?Whoever tries to harm Papandreou will only provoke carnage in this country,? Loverdos told Mega channel on Sunday. ?The country will change direction — instead of struggling to stay on its feet, it will give in to chaos,? he said.

His comments came after sources in conservative New Democracy suggested that members of the current government implicated in the probe, including Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who held the finance portfolio, should resign until the investigation is concluded.

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