Athens – Pavlos Polakis, a former SYRIZA lawmaker who served as deputy health minister when his party was in power, ignited a firestorm of criticism after launching an attack on judges, journalists, and bankers via social media, accusing a “deep state” of being in operation.
Known for his outrageous outbursts and uncontrollable behavior, even party leader and former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could not rein him in. With spring elections approaching and SYRIZA challenging the ruling New Democracy government, Polakis went on a verbal rampage.
Polakis was particularly incensed by the conviction of a colleague and ex-minister, Nikos Pappas, a former top aide to Tsipras. Pappas received a two-year jail sentence for his involvement in a TV licensing scheme that prosecutors claimed aimed to create a propaganda station for the party. Polakis called for the resignation of all judges over 60 and published the names of the 13 judges involved in the Pappas case, subjecting them to public scrutiny. He also posted photos of 15 journalists he dislikes.
Additionally, Polakis demanded the abolition of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue and the firing of its chief, George Pitsilis. He suggested that the Finance Ministry, under government control, should collect taxes. Polakis also recommended nationalizing one of Greece’s top four banks and reforming bankruptcy laws recently passed by the New Democracy government.
Referring to journalists and judges, Polakis said, “If we don’t get rid of them, it won’t be any different,” leaving his meaning unclear. New Democracy responded that “he directly threatens journalists and judges with repression because they hold different opinions.” However, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government has been accused of stifling media freedom and targeting journalists by critics.