MPs approve deficit probe

After a tense debate, Greek lawmakers on Thursday voted in favor of setting up a committee to investigate whether 2009 budget deficit figures were artificially inflated by the Socialist government.

Parliament voted 168-76 to probe claims by two former employees at the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) that the 2009 deficit was artificially inflated.

PASOK has argued that the New Democracy government it took over from in October 2009 had tried to disguise the true size of Greece?s deficit. The conservatives argue that PASOK inflated the figures to damage ND politically.

Former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou on Thursday defended himself against criticism from the opposition, adding that forming a parliamentary committee to investigate the allegations is ?an act of responsibility by Parliament and a moral obligation of the political system.?