Tensions flare in debate on crime

Tensions flare in debate on crime

In a debate in Parliament on Friday about a spike in crime, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dodged questions raised by conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, insisted that law and order has improved under SYRIZA and sought to shift the focus to other issues.

Mitsotakis referred to a “wild situation of violence and lawlessness” in the capital which he blamed on the policies of the leftist-led coalition. Tsipras’s anti-memorandum rhetoric, he said, fueled a political climate that allowed a letter bomb to be sent to former prime minister Lucas Papademos in May. Mitsotakis also accused Tsipras of “opening prison doors” for 2,000 convicts who were freed as part of a bid to reduce crowding in jails.

Tsipras, for his part, accused Mitsotakis of adopting a “far-right rhetoric of fear,” saying he did not accept the fact that “the country is finding its way again.”

The premier reeled off statistics according to which crime has dropped since his government came to power in January 2015.

Indicating that successes in counterterrorism were those of the police, not the government, Mitsotakis hinted that Tsipras was trying to change the subject following the admission by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos that the government has overtaxed the middle class.

Tsipras also broached the Siemens scandal, referring to media reports implicating ND’s party secretary Lefteris Avgenakis. Mitsotakis accused the premier of lies and slander.

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