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Greek Opposition Leader Accuses SYRIZA of Undermining Democratic Institutions

gre1554868_23700001-thumb-large-thumb-largeNew Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras for undermining democratic institutions and trying to manipulate the justice system to suit his own interests.
“We have an economic crisis; we cannot afford a democracy crisis as well,” the opposition leader said characteristically.
Mitsotakis was referring to the uproar caused after the government’s efforts to manipulate the Council of State decision on television licenses. Greece’s highest administrative court accepted the appeals of existing television stations and what remains to be decided is if the bill on television licensing is constitutional.
Mitsotakis spoke of the government’s pressure on judges and the methods used. On Tuesday, government newspaper Avgi accused the vice president of the Council of State of a scandal and released his name.
The conservative party leader spoke of lawlessness and authoritarian methods the government is using to achieve its nefarious purposes. He noted that “justice is the last institutional fortress against the authoritarianism of the executive body”and that Tuesday’s Council of State decision justifies the position of New Democracy that the government cannot enforce a law the constitutionality of which is in question.
Mitsotakis also said that the government should not dare to bring back for vote the Nikos Pappas amendment that calls for closing of non-licensed TV stations within five days the bill is published in the Government Gazzette.
House Speaker Nikos Voutsis assured the opposition leader that the amendment will not be tabled until Sunday.
The New Democracy chief said that his party supports independent authorities such as the Council of State and the National Council for Radio and Television, as long as they do not act as puppets of the government. This was in answer to his party refusal to approve the members of the National Council for Radio and Television SYRIZA proposed.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras — who on Tuesday had said that he will speak in parliament on Wednesday to reply to all accusations about justice manipulation  — failed to appear in the House because he had to fly to Brussels for a European Commission meeting.

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