Ethics committee calls for lifting of ex minister Polakis’ immunity

Ethics committee calls for lifting of ex minister Polakis’ immunity

Parliament’s ethics committee has recommended the lifting of former alternate health minister Pavlos Polakis’ immunity from prosecution to pave the way for a judicial inquiry into accusations made by Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras that he recorded a private telephone conversation between the pair without his consent, as well as a charge of slander made by the head of the workers’ union of Greece’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), Stamatis Poulis.

The 11-member committee’s recommendation will be voted on in a plenary session of Parliament on July 30.

A total of eight deputies from ruling New Democracy, center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) and far-right Greek Solution voted in favor of lifting his immunity.

Deputies from the Communist Party (KKE) and MeRA25 voted against, while SYRIZA’s Dimitris Tzanakopoulos had a verbal altercation with ND lawmaker Haralambos Athanasiou, who is the committee’s chairman, before storming out before the vote.

Tzanakopoulos, a former spokesman of the previous government, denounced the process as “revanchist” and a “derailment” of regulations that stipulate that there must be a three-day interval between the time someone is summoned and when the committee convenes.

Polakis was summoned the day before.

For its part, the committee cited time constraints and said that any delays could have led to an expiration of the statute of limitations.

Tzanakopoulos also said that the matter should be deferred to a parliamentary preliminary investigative committee and accused New Democracy of “authoritarianism” and “arbitrariness.” He further expressed dismay that a majority on the committee wanted Polakis “to be tried like any citizen.” 

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