Top judge appointments null, void

Top judge appointments null, void

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has refused to sign two presidential decrees for the appointment of a new prosecutor and president of the Supreme Court that had been selected by the previous SYRIZA administration.

The decrees, which were returned to the newly elected New Democracy government unsigned, are considered null and void, and not binding, as a result.

Kathimerini understands that a new process will soon be set in motion with a fresh list of candidates.

The Justice Ministry in May launched proceedings to replace the court’s president, Vassilios Peppas, and prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou, who stepped down on June 30, having reached the obligatory retirement age.

The then Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou had recommended Dimitra Kokotini as the court’s top prosecutor and Irini Kalou as its president. Both are currently vice-presidents of the court.

The move had been slammed by New Democracy, which argued that the government lacked the moral or political legitimacy to make such selections, given that Greece was heading for a national election which was called by then prime minister Alexis Tsipras after the resounding defeat suffered by his party in the European Parliament elections in May.

However, the spokesperson of the SYRIZA government at the time, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, insisted that it was within its purview to replace the Supreme Court president.

Critics of the previous government also argued that, traditionally, the appointment of top judges always took place in July and not earlier.

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