Greek PM survives no confidence vote over alleged wiretaps

Athens, Jan 27 (EFE).- Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis survived a vote of no confidence on Friday that was tabled by the main opposition party, the leftist Syriza of Alexis Tsipras, which accused the conservative leader of organizing a mass wiretapping of politicians, military figures, business leaders and journalists.

The censure motion requiring an absolute majority of 151 votes was rejected by the 156 deputies of Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party, while the entire opposition voted in favor.

During the debate, Mitsotakis again denied he had any knowledge of the wiretaps allegedly carried out by the country’s secret services, which the prime minister directly oversees since his government introduced reforms days after he took office in July 2019.

He instead tried to steer the debate towards alleged irregularities committed by the previous government, led by Tsipras from 2015 until 2019.

Mitsotakis accused the opposition of trying to create a toxic and polarizing atmosphere and, with his eyes already set on the general elections scheduled for the spring, accused him of not having concrete plans for the future of the country.

Tsipras accused the prime minister of being the “coordinator” of the alleged spying, which he said constituted an “unprecedented violation of the rule of law.”

On Tuesday, Christos Rammos, the head of the Authority for the Assurance of Communications Privacy (ADAE), which ensures that mail and all other forms of free correspondence are secure and confidential, sent a letter to the prime minister, the justice minister, the Speaker of Parliament and party leaders detailing the results of his inquiries into the scandal.

The letter was a response to a December request by Tsipras calling for an investigation into reports that six people – including current labor minister and former energy and environment minister Kostís Khatzidakis and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Konstantinos Floros – were spied on by the secret services.

Rammos confirmed that they were under surveillance based on records from telephone operators who had carried out the tapping at the request of the secret services. A day later, Tsipras tabled the vote of no confidence.

The scandal first erupted in August with the revelation that the secret service was bugging the phones of the leader of the social democratic Pasok-Kinal party, Nikos Andrulakis, which forced the resignation of the then head of the secret services, Panayotis Kontoleon, and Mitsotakis’ chief of staff and nephew, Grigoris Dimitriadis. EFE


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