Androulakis Says Mitsotakis Ducking TV Debate Over European Polls

ATHENS – Socialist PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis is keeping up a fusillade of criticism at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, this time challenging him for a debate ahead of the elections for European Parliament in June.

While the polls aren’t a hot item for Greeks they are seen by political parties as a barometer of their popularity and this time those in the Diaspora will be able to vote, Mitsotakis facing a barrage of complaints from opposing parties.

Androulakis said Mitsotakis won’t debate him on TV, accusing the Premier of afraid to confront him and answer questions raised about corruption and fraud in bidding processes involving 10 companies, including telecommunications firms.

“Mitsotakis is avoiding a debate to evade accountability for corruption, including in the public tenders of the economic recovery fund,” Androulakis told a crowd of supporters in the southern suburb of Ilioupoli.

The European Union’s 723-billion euro ($770.82 billion) – called the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – was set up to bring aid to countries during the COVID-19 pandemic but has seen alleged widespread corruption across the bloc.

An article on the Politico website said EU and Greek authorities are looking into allegations of fraud related to the allocation of 2.5 billion euros ($2.68 billon) European funds to the 10 companies, awards given to one bidder in cases.

“Corruption, cover-ups, and impunity characterize the ND administration,” Androulakis said, emphasizing the necessity of a “strong and responsible opposition” that will ultimately rule the country after the next legislative election.

“It is the only way to combat corruption, impunity, arrogance, and the policies of New Democracy that exacerbate inequalities and undermine the daily lives of Greeks by increasing the cost of living,” he said.

Mitsotakis’ government is also backpedaling over widespread beliefs it had covered up the real causes of a February, 2023 head-on train crash in Tempe that killed 57 people, many of them immolated in fires that broke out.

The administration also has continued to deny using Predator spyware found in the country although acknowledging that 15,745 people had their phones bugged by the National Intelligence Service EYP over national security – including Androulakis.

Mitsotakis apologized for that, said he didn’t know about but defended EYP tracking people without the names being given but didn’t say why Androulakis was being tracked as a security risk to the country.


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