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One vote, four ballots: Greek lawmakers seek responsibilites for Lagarde List – or not

After a tense parliament session on Thursday morning, Greece’s lawmakers decided to hold a single vote and set up four ballot boxes where MPs can cast their vote and decided who will face inquiry over the handling of infamous Lagarde list. The ballot boxes will open for two former finance ministers (Papaconstantinou, Venizelos) and two ex prime ministers (Papandreou, Papademos).

Samaras coalition government parties – conservative Nea Dimocratia, socialist PASOK and centre left Democratic Left – had proposed that only ex Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou be probed in connection with the handling of the Lagarde list, especially the revelations that the names of three of his relatives were removed from the Lagarge list – a list containing more than 2,000 names of Greeks with savings accounts at HSBC bank in Geneva.

However opposition parties demanded that other politicians may have if not legal at least political responsibilities on the issue. Main opposition left-wing SYRIZA wants Papaconstantinou successor Venizelos to be probed as well, while nationalist Independent Greeks and far-right Golden Dawn want also former prime ministers Lucas Papademos and George Papandreou to be investigated too.

Speaking at the Parliament Thursday noon, Papaconstantinou denied any tampering of the Lagarde list. He admitted ‘political responsibilities’ but denied any ‘legal ones. However he was not able to convince why he failed to treat the list in a proper political and fiscal way.

Former PM Papademos denied any knowledge about the existence of Lagarde list. He submitted a written explanation to Greek Parliament on Thursday.

 Background

The Lagarde list was handed over by ex French FinMin Christine Lagarde to Papaconstantinou in October 201o the latest, while there where indications it might had been handed out even a couple of months earlier.

Lagarde list was ‘missing’ in dusty drawers but it came to surface last October, two years after it was given to Greeks. According to testimonies of ex finance ministers and officials, the original list on CD was copied and recopied on several usb memory sticks. In one case, the data was destroyed as well…

Many Greeks see the whole circus as attempts to cover up the whole issue. Two years after the handing over, no accound holder on the list was investigated on possible tax evasion.

Procedure

Each politician in question of inquiry needs a total of 151 votes in order to be summoned for a preliminary judicial inquiry. This while investigate if there are grounds to indict the accused.

Coalition government has 164 seats in the parliament, opposition 120, while there are 16 independent lawmakers.

The voting is expected to start at about 7 ‘o clock (local time) this evening.

 UPDATE 10:00 pm: the voting has not started yet. As MPs and party leaders used to chance for long speeches.

UPDATE 10:30 pm:

120 extra pages with witnesses testimonies on Lagarde list  arrived from the prosecutor’s office in the Parliament while the debate was taking place – and practically short before the vote would start.

The 120 pages contain testimonies of 20 witnesses, persons involved in the usb copies, and documents form judicial and economic institutions.

Opposition parties proposed the vote on Lagarde list probe to be delayed until tomorrow, so they can have the chance to read the testimonies before the vote.

Coalition government parties opposed this proposal, and voting by raising hand took place and after a 20 minutes break (for commercials) the vote will take place as planned.

We, Greeks, enjoyed an extra show of the parody called “Greek parliamentary democracy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 comments

  1. Is this an anonymous vote or do they have to sign the ballot papers so the boss can come after them should they develop a temporary case of conscience-itis?

    • keeptalkinggreece

      should gov’t parties send Venizelos to inquiry, there would be no government on Saturday the latest. One sacrifice after the other. it’s papaconstantinou’s turn. Therefore, do as Klaus does: relax and wait for the outcome.

  2. Since, for the life of me, I don’t understand the voting procedure, I will just relax and wait and see what the outcome is…

    • keeptalkinggreece

      the perfect approach to anything Greek!

    • If they vote yes/no for each of the candidates (4 votes iow), it sort of makes sense, in as much as politicians can ever make sense.
      If they only have 1 vote, then it is blatantly obvious that this will result in nobody getting “investigated” because nobody will reach the quota.Which I kind of suspect could be the idea…