Tsipras describes Mitsotakis as a "political ostrich"

Alexis Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, described Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as "an ostrich sticking its head in the sand when it feels it's in danger, believing that others do not see it because it cannot see them" when addressing parliament on Friday.

Tsipras, who made the comments during a debate on the phone-tapping affair, also accused Mitsotakis of arranging with the parliament president to schedule the parliamentary debate on Friday when he would not be present to provide explanations.

"He believes that, in this way, he will get away with it," Tsipras added, and accused Mitsotakis of being a "political ostrich" and of "hiding behind international developments, weather phenomena and his associates" whenever the outlook appeared bleak.

The opposition leader also accused Mitsotakis of hiding behind "the shameful [excuse] of confidentiality," and said that it would be shameful for democracy and the operation of parliament if "the cover-up of such a shocking scandal were permitted to pass".

The scandal over the wiretapping of Nikos Androulakis, leader of socialist party PASOK, Greece’s third-largest political party, has turned up the heat on the conservative premier who brought the Greek intelligence agency EYP under his control after taking office three years ago.

Mitsotakis has said the phone tapping of Androulakis for reasons of national security was legal but “politically unacceptable.”

In an opinion poll by GPO, conducted Aug. 22-24, 58.3% of those surveyed said the wiretapping scandal hurt their trust in the government while 40.6% said their confidence has not been shaken.

Almost two-thirds of Greeks thought poorly of Mitsotakis’ stance on the issue, although about 61% said the case would not weigh on their vote.