Following the outcry over the government’s insistence to proceed with the appointment of a new president and prosecutor of the Supreme Court before a snap election takes place in July, Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou announced he will seek a consensus with the main opposition on the candidates.
In a letter sent to New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Kalogirou said that, although there is no constitutional or legal impediment in completing the ongoing process, the government will work with his party on the issue.
ND has protested that the government does not have the moral or political legitimacy to do so given that Greece is heading for a national election which was called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after the resounding defeat suffered by ruling SYRIZA in last Sunday’s European Parliament election.
“Realizing the political issue that has arisen, and because I consider it as an institutional obligation to avoid the impression that the choice of the leadership of the country’s top courts binds any government, I express the will of the government to choose the next president and prosecutor the Supreme Court and the three vice-presidents of the Council of State in agreement with the main opposition,” Kalogirou said in the letter.
He said this decision “honors” the judges who have already been shortlisted and sends a message of consensus and respect for the independence of the judiciary.
At the same time, sources from the Greek President’s office denied earlier press reports that Prokopis Pavlopoulos was planning to intervene on the issue, saying there has been “no intervention towards any direction from the President of the Republic.”
The reports claimed that Pavlopoulos warned the government that he would not sign off the presidential decree approving the promotions unless the judges were selected in consensus with New Democracy.