SYRIZA calls on Mitsotakis to explain himself in parliament over spy scandal

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis SYRIZA

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance spokesperson Nassos Iliopoulos said that "Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will come to parliament to explain himself", while speaking to Real FM on Monday.

"He is clearly responsible for the phone-tapping," Iliopoulos continued.

He said that Mitsotakis had admitted that there was political responsibility and, even though the prime minister's general secretary and the head of the National Intelligence Service had been removed, it made no sense to assert that Mitsotakis, who had actively sought their appointment and even changed the law to make it possible, bore no responsibility.

The opposition spokesperson said that his party was waiting for clear answers in parliament.

"Which agencies leased the malware Predator and who are the political figures that are being tapped," he questioned.

He claimed that Mitsotakis should resign and call general elections, adding "that would be the normal thing to do in any European country."
Iliopoulos also said that obviously SYRIZA-PA will support the setting up of a parliamentary investigation committee.

Mitsotakis, is facing his toughest hour in office following the discovery that the mobile phone of his political opponent, the leader of the country’s third largest party, was tapped by order of EYP, the intelligence service that reports directly to his office.

“I never expected the Greek government to spy on me using the darkest practices,” the Pasok party head, Nikos Androulakis who is also a member of the European parliament, said in a televised address earlier this month as the extent of the espionage became apparent.

“It is our democratic duty to protect the human rights and freedoms of Greek citizens. Today is a moment of truth for those whose arrogance and sense of impunity make them capable of anything," he added.

The prime minister’s Maximou office announced the resignation of Panagiotis Kontoleon, until then the much-revered EYP chief, for “incorrect actions”.

The news had followed the shock announcement that Mitsotakis’s nephew and most trusted aide, Grigoris Dimitriadis, had also stepped down – taking a bullet for his boss that was hoped would put the scandal to bed. Regarded as an eminence grise with wide-ranging powers, Dimitriadis had been Kontoleon’s point man in Maximou.

Mitsotakis acknowledged the wire-tapping had been a “huge and unforgivable mistake”, the resignations were being interpreted as an admission of guilt.

Likening the espionage scandal to Greece’s very own Watergate “that brutally insults our democracy”, the leftist former prime minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to leave no stone unturned in exposing the wrongdoing.

It was, he said, incumbent on the centre-right government to not only come clean about Androulakis – whose phone was monitored over a three-month period in the run-up to his election as Pasok leader last September – but others who reputedly had also been targeted.

“Instead of hypocritical apologies and lies, Mr Mitsotakis should say which other politicians and journalists have been followed,” said Tsipras, who heads the main opposition Syriza party.

“This is not a huge and unforgivable mistake. It’s a huge scandal [that represents] the unforgivable arrogance of a regime, of a prime minister that thought no one could control him," he continued.

The scandal, which has evoked the darkest days of military rule when opponents of the 1967-74 Colonels’ regime were regularly spied on, first broke when Androulakis revealed he had been informed by the European parliament of an attempt to bug his mobile phone with Predator malware.

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