ATHENS – Kostas Karamanlis, a former premier from Greece’s ruling New Democracy, broke ranks with the party to insist that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reveal what’s behind spying on a rival party leader and journalist.
Karamanlis, who served from 2004-09 and was blamed by critics for not revealing the real state of the economy, which needed three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($326.68), said there must be an accounting for what happened and “who ordered such a thing and why.”
That was about the National Intelligence Service (EYP) bugging the phones of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis – also a Member of the European Parliament – and financial reporter Thanasis Koukakis, who was said to be investigating ties between the Premier and business.
Koukakis said that Predator spyware was put on his cell phone he opened an attachment – blaming EYP – while Androulakis said the European Parliament research lab found an attempt to install it on his phone had failed when he didn’t open a text message.
Mitsotakis – whose first order of business after defeating the Radical Left SYRIZA in July, 2019 snap elections was to put EYP under his control – said he was never told about the spying and wouldn’t have allowed it.
But a parliamentary committee is looking into the incidents, set up after all of the New Democracy lawmakers who make up a majority, abstained from voting, wanting an investigation to look back further into other governments too.
Karamanlis put Mitsotakis on the spot but there was no initial reaction from the government that has circled the wagons around him and wants the committee’s work to be kept secret from the public.
Speaking to conservative New Democracy officials at an event in Crete commemorating politician Yiannis Kefaloyannis on the 10th anniversary of his death, Karamanlis said that in “situations like this, catharsis can only come when there is full clarity,” revealing the truth.
“Clarity and transparency are, after all, fundamental to a lawful and orderly public life, even more so when issues arise like a phone tap on a political leader, journalist or any citizen,” he said, reported Kathimerini.
Karamanlis, who served as premier from 2004-2009, also suggested the government can’t hide behind confidentiality, saying that “it comes second to the need for catharsis in public life.”
“Everything needs to be brought to light,” he said, calling for bipartisan cooperation despite the bitterness, to scrutinize why privacy protection has been lifted by EYP and a prosecutor in so many instances.