Greek Government Survives Censure Motion on Wiretapping Scandal

January 27, 2023

The Greek government survived a censure motion tabled by main opposition SYRIZA over the wiretapping scandal on Friday.

156 MPs voted against the motion and 143 in favor. A total of 299 MPs participated in the roll-call vote following a three-day discussion. The independent MP Andreas Patsis was absent.

In the parliamentary debate proceeding the vote, the leader of SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras stressed that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has an obligation to provide the Greek people with “answers” regarding the wiretappings. He also suggested that Mitsotakis had known what was happening and lied about it.

“You knew everything and for six months you lied everywhere. Lies upon lies,” Tsipras said.

“The time of crisis comes at some point,” Tsipras said, accusing the prime minister of resorting to “cover-ups, blackmail, terrorism, illegality,” in efforts to avoid this moment.

In spite of everything that the prime minister had done, Tsipras added, he was now “face to face with the truth” that he had tried “to hide in the dark for six months….with the Greek people who are awaiting answers and explanations”.

The leader of the main opposition spoke of “a violation of the rule of law of unprecedented depth and extent,” and also of “an unprecedented institutional and Constitutional deviation”, which, as he said, the prime minister could “no longer deny” had happened.

Mitsotakis defended the legality of the wiretapping

PM Mitsotakis defended the legality of the wiretappings undertaken by the national intelligence service (EYP).

He reiterated past remarks that the surveillance by EYP of Nikos Androulakis, leader of the socialist PASOK party, was “politically not acceptable.” He added that any “murky case will be investigated by judicial authorities,” adding that his government has taken steps to reform EYP.

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Mitsotakis questioned the circumstances under which the opposition leader had received information over the wiretappings from the chief of the state’s privacy watchdog ADAE and tried to turn corruption allegations back on to Tsipras, including by mentioning his party’s controversial ties to businessman Christos Kalogritsas.

The New Democracy leader also accused SYRIZA of “raising the decibels” of political confrontation in order to disguise its poor legacy as a government and absence of pragmatic policy proposals ahead of elections later in 2023.

“You can neither talk about the future nor about the past which is still haunting you,” he said.

Allegations of state surveillance have snowballed since the leader of the socialist PASOK party, Greece’s third-largest, said last August that his phone had been tapped by the state intelligence service EYP in 2021.

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