Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday accusations levelled by Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis against judicial officials handling two major corruption cases are an “unprecedented undermining" of democratic institutions, and criticized Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for not disciplining the minister.
“Everything that is happening in the past few days constitute an unprecedented undermining of our democratic institutions and threaten directly the separation of powers in our country,” he said in a statement.
“It can not be tolerated in a state governed by the rule of law, to have an acting minister accuse named prosecutors and investigative magistrates that they not fulfill their mission, in the way he would have liked, and have the prime minister protect him,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday, Greece’s union of judges and prosecutors slammed Polakis for insinuating that judicial officials handling those cases are deliberately stalling the investigation.
“At a time when European and Greek legislation fully protect the presumption of innocence, a government minister brutally violates this principle,” the union said in a statement.
“We stress that the minister's attempt to intervene in the work of the judicial and prosecution officials is an institutional aberration, since it constitutes a direct violation of the principle of separation of powers,” it added.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Polakis named specific judicial officials handling the alleged mismanagement of funds at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) and the alleged kickbacks scandal involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis, claiming he has submitted to them “a wealth of evidence” that proves “beyond doubt” the misuse of state money.
Mitsotakis also commented separately on the new prison leave granted last week to Dimitris Koufodinas, the convicted hitman of the November 17 terrorist organization.
Koufodinas, who was convicted for carrying out 11 assassinations, was reportedly seen in central Athens during his six-day furlough.
“Convicted terrorist Koufodinas, on his 6th furlough, takes a walk in Athens. The next elections will be about the economy, but also the quality of our democracy,” Mitsotakis said on his official Twitter account.