MPs Probed For Presidential Bribe Claims

ATHENS – Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani has ordered an investigation into whether any lawmakers have been bribed to support whomever is nominated by the country’s ruling parties for the Greek Presidency.

The allegation was raised by Panos Skourletis, the spokesman for the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that is leading in the polls, invoking media reports.

Those stories said that the government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and his partner the PASOK Socialists were trying to buy – in some unspecified fashion – the votes of other lawmakers so that the rulers candidate would win and avert early elections.

SYRIZA said it would try to block the election of a President to a symbolic office, which requires 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament.

New Democracy and PASOK together have only 155 and in a vote of confidence last week Samaras got no votes from any other MPs, suggesting he doesn’t have enough support for his choice for a President.

Skourletis’s comment ired Samaras, who spoke of “despicable innuendos” and challenged SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to substantiate the claims. Samaras accused SYRIZA of trying to destabilize the country.