Clash in Parliament over new intelligence chief criteria

Clash in Parliament over new intelligence chief criteria

The center-right government on Friday approved in Parliament changes to the criteria for appointing the director of the National Intelligence Service (EYP) – a move aimed at ensuring that the official undertaking the role has adequate professional experience but which provoked angry protests by the opposition.

The provision, which was approved by the 150 New Democracy MPs present in the House, stipulates that the candidate for the top spot at EYP can qualify with 10 years of professional experience and does not necessarily have to be a university graduate, as was previously the case.

The vote was preceded by vehement comments by members of the leftist opposition SYRIZA, while lawmakers of center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ MeRA25 walked out before the ballot.

Opposition MPs also took issue with the government’s tendency to fast-track discussions on legislation before vote.

The EYP reform was defended by Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Lefteris Economou who said issues of national security should not be viewed through a prism of party politics. SYRIZA spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, for his part, spoke of a “scandalous reform” and an “institutional aberration.”

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