In the wake of new claims implicating top officials of leftist SYRIZA in alleged corruption, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Skai Radio on Tuesday that he expected his leftist predecessor Alexis Tsipras to take a clear stance on the issue and dismiss his close aide, former digital policy minister Nikos Pappas.
The comments by Mitsotakis followed allegations by businessman Christos Kalogritsas that Pappas had been aware of a shell company he had set up with which to participate in a competition for television licenses in 2016.
“I believe the dismissal of Mr Pappas is unavoidable,” Mitsotakis said, adding that he could not understand why Tsipras had not already distanced his former aide from the party. The revelations come on the back of others, notably a recording of a conversation between Pappas and a Greek-Israeli businessman in which the former suggests that another SYRIZA minister was “making a lot of money” from backroom deals.
Noting that Greece needs “a serious and reliable main opposition party,” Mitsotakis suggested that internal catharsis might be required in SYRIZA.
Speaking on the anniversary of his government’s coming to power, the premier said he had no intention to call early elections, noting that it would be “a politically dishonorable move” to exploit his party’s lead in the polls to hold new elections.
In a meeting later on Tuesday with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Mitsotakis expressed the hope that an upcoming summit of European Union leaders would finalize the bloc’s package of measures to help economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
SYRIZA on Tuesday was seen to be undertaking efforts to shield Pappas from the allegations.
For his part, Tsipras accused the government of slandering the party’s senior officials and of denigrating the political debate by slinging mud, without mentioning Pappas’ name nor the Kalogritsas case.
More specifically, Tsipras bemoaned “the immorality of the character assassinations [the government is] attempting, in order to turn the spotlight elsewhere.”