Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while visiting the Acharnes Municipality on Tuesday, commented on the latest developments within the main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance regarding the MP and former minister Pavlos Polakis.
He noted that "I have just one thing to say: they have made their bed and must now lie in it."
"They must work out their internal issues and consider who it was that raised 'Polakisism' to a central line of their party," Mitsotakis said.
"Beyond that, they should let us get on with our work. If we talk about the future, let us avoid toxicity and bow with respect and understanding to society's problems. Have no doubt, in the elections we will achieve and surpass our targets," he added.
For his part, government spokesperson Yiannis Economou said during a press briefing on Tuesday that "the decision of the Special Court and the fascist outburst of (former minister and MP) Pavlos Polakis highlight the anti-democratic and anti-institutional characteristics of SYRIZA and its responsibilities."
"'Polakisism' and the unanimous condemnation of (former Minister of State Nikos) Pappas are two sides of the same coin," he said.
"Was the poisoning of politics and society with lies the sole responsibility of Mr. Polakis, or is the slandering of Greece a strategic choice for SYRIZA?" Economou continued.
The government spokesperson also stressed the importance of expelling Nikos Pappas.
All 13 members of a Special Court unanimously found Pappas guilty of breach of duty over his handling, as media minister at that time, of a tender process to award television broadcasting licenses in 2016.
A social media tirade against journalists – as well as bankers and judges – cost SYRIZA lawmaker and provocateur Pavlos Polakis a spot on his party’s ballot in upcoming elections and denunciation from Reporters Without Borders (RSF.)
The media freedom group, which has also criticized the New Democracy government for stifling reporters and independent media sites, reacted to a his statement that a few well-known journalists he doesn’t like are part of a “deep state” and had to go.
“RSF strongly condemns the call of opposition MP & ex-minister Pavlos Polakis from SYRIZA to ‘get rid’ of 15 journalists due to their media’s editorial line. While pluralism is much needed in Greece, it cannot be achieved by dangerous targeting of individual journalists,” the Paris-based group tweeted.
Polakis, who has been known to shoot from the hip and antagonize even his own party as an uncontrollable loose cannon, posted his rant with the elections coming and SYRIZA, which ruled for 4 ½ years, to return to power.
SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, trying to cut into a 6 point lead by the Conservatives, rebranded the party as Progressive to replace its name as the Radical Left and called a meeting to decide Polakis’ fate.
Polakis, a surgeon, was an alternate health minister in the SYRIZA government that had a far-right partner, the Independent Greeks, was known for defying the law, smoking where he wanted, including at a World No Smoking Day news conference.