Opposition parties in Greece demanded the resignation of PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and requested snap elections during a heated debate in parliament over the wiretapping scandal.
Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras said that Mitsotakis not only knew about the wiretapping of PASOK’s leader Nikos Androulakis, but he ordered his intelligence service to spy on him.
He called on the PM to reveal why Androulakis was under surveillance and assume political responsibility for the scandal by resigning and calling snap elections.
“You are legally, politically but primarily morally obliged to…state why you were surveilling the then-European MP and now head of the third largest party in Greece,” Tsipras said.
“Give an answer,” he demanded. “You are obliged to give an answer. What was this national reason? Is he an agent of foreign interests…Is he dangerous to national security?”
Watch the full speech below:
Mitsotakis, who faces re-election next year, has insisted he was unaware of what he has called the legal wiretapping of Androulakis, but that he would not have approved it had he known. It was a mistake, he admitted.
The wiretapping scandal has rocked Greece
Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) reports directly to the prime minister’s office.
The PM pointed out that this was followed by the replacement of the officials involved at EYP and in the prime minister’s office and by an act of legislative content to improve the functioning of EYP as well as the government’s agreement to bring the issue before the plenary, the transparency committee, and to set up a parliamentary investigation.
“We responded rapidly to the demand to open Parliament early in the hope that there will be solutions in the operation of state structures,” Mitsotakis said. “I hope the discussion will be held in a climate of national responsibility and we will seek convergences.”
“None of our initiatives must undermine the important national work done by EYP,” he stressed, noting that this must improve and not stall its activities since it was EYP’s intelligence that had helped Greece be prepared against a mass invasion by migrants at Evros in 2020.
The three-month wiretap of Androulakis’ phone from September 2021 was uncovered after Androulakis, a European Parliament member, was informed by the European Parliament’s cybersecurity service that he had been the target of a bugging attempt by Predator spyware.
In April, Greek financial journalist Thanassis Koukakis said he had been notified by digital rights group Citizen Lab that his phone had been the target of surveillance by Predator software from July to September 2021.
The government insists it has not used Predator but has admitted Androulakis’ phone was separately under surveillance by the intelligence service.
Androulakis filed a complaint with prosecutors at Greece’s Supreme Court on July 26th over the Predator spyware and has demanded to know the reasons for the intelligence service surveillance.