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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis survives no-confidence vote amid alleged wiretapping links

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis survives no-confidence vote amid alleged wiretapping links
All 156 deputies of governing party vote ‘no’ as 143 opposition lawmakers unanimously vote ‘yes’

By Ahmet Gencturk

ANKARA (AA) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis survived a no-confidence vote filed by the main opposition SYRIZA party for his alleged links to a surveillance scandal.

Taking to the floor of parliament before Mitsotakis, main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras blamed Mitsotakis for the scandal, which he called the greatest deviation in the country since 1974 when democracy was restored.

“Ultimately, the time of crisis comes at some point, for everyone and everything," he said and added that Mitsotakis has been conducting concealments, blackmails, intimidation and numerous kinds of illegalities to avoid facing “this moment.”

To cover up, he argued: “You unleashed an unprecedented wave of intimidation against those who know of it.”

“You knew everything and for six months you lied everywhere,” he said and argued that the premier is the mastermind of the parastatal organization which put many journalists, businessmen, generals and politicians under illegal surveillance.

He accused the prime minister of “selling cheap patriotism” and drew attention to the fact that the government signed arms deals worth €14 billion ($15.21 billion) since the summer of 2019, which did not benefit the local industry.

He claimed some of the arms are not necessary or wanted by military leadership.

Mitsotakis focused on comparing the “achievements” of his government in many sectors -- including the fight against irregular migration, foreign policy and the economy -- with the Tsipras government that ruled from 2015 -2019.

He accused SYRIZA of causing divisions and consequently harming Greece.

In reference to elections that are expected in late spring or early summer, Mitsotakis said “Democracy will be protected with the victory of the (ruling) Nea Dimokratia.”

The motion of no confidence was eventually rejected 156 to 143.

Only the independent deputy Andreas Patsis was absent.

-Surveillance scandal

The scandal stirred a political storm in Greece last summer when Thanasis Koukakis, a well-known financial journalist in Greece, reported that his mobile phone had been tapped with the Israeli-made Predator spyware.

Things escalated after Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the PASOK-KINAL opposition party and a member of the European Parliament, also revealed that he was targeted with Predator spyware, triggering a parliamentary probe on the matter.

Last August, Panagiotis Kontoleon, who then headed Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP), admitted before a committee of lawmakers that the agency was spying on Koukakis.

Days later, Mitsotakis disclosed that Androulakis was also wiretapped but denied any knowledge of the operation.

Mitsotakis was left with no option but to force Kontoleon to resign as well as his top aide and nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis.

On Nov. 6, the Documento newspaper published a list of 33 people who were allegedly spied on by the EYP on Dimitriadis' direct orders.

They included Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolaos Chardalias, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and former National Security Adviser Alexandros Diakopoulos.

A later report by the daily claimed that the EYP, which works directly under Mitsotakis, also wiretapped Chief of General Staff Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Land Forces Charalambos Lalousis and General Director of Defense Investments and Armaments Theodoros Lagios.

source: News Feed
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