MPs to probe loans to parties

MPs to probe loans to parties

Parliament approved on Friday the government’s proposal for a committee of MPs to investigate the granting of loans to political parties and the media in recent years.

However, the debate was dominated by exchanges between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the current bailout discussions.

Mitsotakis, whose party agreed to the parliamentary inquiry being launched, accused Tsipras of trying to use the committee as a means to deflect attention from his government’s failure so far to conclude the bailout review.

“You want to turn attention elsewhere, away from the asphyxiation your policies have created, you want to hide the fact the state is absent from the muddy terrain of Idomeni and the favela in Piraeus,” said Mitsotakis.

Tsipras, though, insisted that he has no reason to create a diversion as he is confident the review will be completed soon.

“It will close without any additional measures because that is what the July [2015] agreement foresees and everyone has to abide by this agreement,” said the prime minister.

He also accused the opposition leader of accepting the International Monetary Fund’s position on a range of issues. “Do you agree with mass dismissals? Do you agree with new cuts to pensions and the imposition of a zero deficit clause?” Tsipras asked the conservative chief.

“The government is fighting to stick to its red lines in the negotiations and has allies in Europe but you went to the US and adopted the IMF’s positions,” added the premier.

Mitsotakis accused the coalition of behaving erratically in the negotiations and not doing enough to complete the review. “One moment you are announcing that legislation is to be tabled unilaterally and the next you are issuing press releases saying that they will be tweaked in cooperation with the institutions.”

The ND president also pressed Tsipras several times on whether he would accept the opposition’s proposal for a parliamentary committee to look into last year’s negotiations and the imposition of capital controls. Tsipras evaded the question. Mitsotakis also asked the prime minister if he would sack Deputy Health Minister Pavlos Polakis for saying he would like to bury a journalist “three meters underground” but did not elicit a response from Tsipras.

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