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President of Greece’s Council of State resigns over leakages to the Press

The President of Greece’s Council of State, Nikos Sakellariou, announced that he resigns over leakages to the press about a CoS decision on the upcoming pension cuts. In a surprise decision and reading a long statement that was broadcasting live, Sakellariou said that the leakages and the “unacceptable violation of justice confidentiality” do not allow him to exercise his duties as he wished.

Last Friday, it was leaked to the press, that the Council of State had ruled with a narrow majority of votes that the pension cuts were not against the Constitution. the ruling triggered an outrage with many Greeks criticizing that “judges rule as conform with the Constitution pension cuts of average Greeks, while they rule judges’ pension cuts are against the Constitution.”

Judges’ pension are regulated according to lawmakers’ pensions.

Sakellariou could not hold back his tears and was reading his statement with a trembling voice. “The leakages have hurt the authority of the institution,” he said among others.

At some point he said “pension cuts lead to impoverishment” and underlined that the “bailout agreements were against the Constitution.”

He said that he had voted against pension cuts to be imposed by the first two bailout agreements.

The resignation of such a high-ranking judge is the first in Greece in more than four decades.

He has served justice for 42 years. he was member of CoS since 2009 and President of CoS since October 2015. He was to retire at the age of 67 in summer.

His term as President of the Council of State was to expire on June 30th 2018.

When a reported asked him whether there was government pressure to resign, Sakellariou replied he does not belong to them who allow pressure.

While it is too early for official reactions from the government and the opposition to Sakellariou’s resignation, several Greek internet users are not impressed and make ironic comments like “he made a heroic exit 1.5 month before he retires”. Some even claim it was a “Live TV Show with a political background.”

Later, Digital Minister and close associate of PM Tsipras, Nikos Pappas, tweeted “if Sakellariou was bother by the confidentiality violation he should have resigned already in October 2016.

It is not the first time – and won’t be the last – a Council of State decision has been leaked to the press before it was official. The CoS ruling about the licenses on television station was leaked by the President of the Council of State.

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