Parties wrangle over tapping

A parliamentary debate yesterday which was supposed to focus on regional development turned into a row about phone tapping between the government and PASOK. The argument culminated in Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis implying that the previous Socialist regime was fully aware of the illegal spying during its time in power. PASOK accused the government of making wild claims with no evidence to back them up. Socialist leader George Papandreou called on Karamanlis to respond to reports that the National Intelligence Agency (EYP) was involved in the phone tapping scandal that emerged last month. «No answers have been provided until now. There will be no cover-up or bartering over this vital issue,» said the PASOK leader. He claimed EYP used its own equipment to eavesdrop on conversations during the two years New Democracy has been in power. Karamanlis challenged PASOK to bring forward any evidence it has. «You should direct your queries to the ministers of your governments,» the premier told Papandreou. «Was there eavesdropping? Did the equipment exist? Who purchased it and when? «Ask the heads of EYP that you appointed. It is well known that 90 percent of EYP employees were appointed by PASOK,» he added. The leaders of Synaspismos Left Coalition and the Communist Party expressed their annoyance that parliamentary sessions were continually dominated by arguments about phone tapping.