New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis upped the pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s beleaguered government on Tuesday by calling for their resignations during a parliamentary debate that was meant to focus on judicial issues.
Tsipras had asked for the discussion to address allegations that the government has been interfering in the judicial process and to highlight corruption investigations. He did not make any new revelations during his speech though.
The premier did, however, ask for a parliamentary committee to be formed to investigate the bank loans that have been granted to political parties. This came after he noted that New Democracy owed almost 200 million euros.
Mitsotakis responded by pointing out that he has taken steps to reduce the conservative party’s debt and accused Tsipras of calling for the debate and the setting up of an inquiry in order to divert attention from more imminent challenges for Greece. In doing so, he held up a political cartoon showing a man picking someone’s pocket while convincing him to look the other way by saying, “Look over there – another scandal.”
“You want us to talk about corruption so we do not talk about the refugee crisis, unemployment and the economy,” said the conservative chief, before issuing his call for Tsipras and the rest of the government to step down.
“Greece cannot put up with you anymore,” he said. “If Parliament cannot provide a solution, let the people decide.”
PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata also called for the government to quit but insisted that snap elections should be avoided. She advocated instead that the current Parliament should elect a new administration to run the country.
Earlier, New Democracy spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that he had filed a suit against SYRIZA MP and government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili after the latter attempted to link the conservative politician to a newspaper publisher and two journalists recently arrested on suspicion of blackmail. Gerovasili made reference to reports of alleged telephone conversations between Koumoutsakos and the suspects.
“The justice system will now have its say on the government’s comprehensive effort to tarnish my name,” said Koumoutsakos.