Greece’s government on Friday easily survived a no-confidence vote called by the opposition over a long-running wiretap scandal in which top officials were targeted by state intelligence for months.
The censure motion was defeated by 156 votes to 143 in the 300-seat chamber, parliament vice chairman Haralambos Athanassiou said after the official count.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had welcomed the vote ahead of time as an opportunity to promote his government’s record ahead of elections in spring.
But leftist former premier Alexis Tsipras called for the no-confidence vote on Wednesday, calling Mitsotakis the “mastermind and leader” behind a “criminal network” that had wiretapped officials’ phones.
Tsipras said that the head of Greece’s communications watchdog ADAE told him that an audit of national telecom operators last month uncovered that several senior officials had been under surveillance.
He identified Greece’s former energy minister, army chief and former national security advisor as being among the officials.
Tsipras said the ADAE’s chairman Christos Rammos had told him on Tuesday that the officials had been under surveillance by state intelligence agency EYP.
Tsipras said Mitsotakis, whose office has oversight over EYP, had “consciously lied” for six months and had “thrown the entire weight of his authority” to prevent the truth from coming out.
– Predator spyware –
But Mitsotakis insisted the wiretaps cited by Tsipras had been approved by a prosecutor at the state intelligence agency and were thus legal.
“The (monitoring) was legal, we need to clarify this,” the prime minister said.
The government has accused Tsipras of seeking to weaponise the ADAE, noting that its head Rammos was appointed to the post by Tsipras’s leftist government just before elections in 2019.