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PM Mitsotakis ends abruptly debate on surveillance bill, leaves Plenary

“Whatever you had to say Mr. Tsipras, you have said it, the debate ends” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, packed his papers and left the Parliament Plenary where the debate on the surveillance bill was held.

On a post with the video, SYRIZA-affiliated newspaper Avgi noted wryly:”The moment Mitsotakis runs away.”

It all started when main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA) reportedly  repeated his question to the PM whether the National Intelligence Service EYP was wiretapping Labor Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Head of General Staff Konstantinos Floros.

Tsipras asked Mitsotakis if “you can assure us that EYP was not monitoring Mr. Hatzidakis and Mr. Floros.”

The first response Tsipras received by Mitsotakis was “the prime minister cannot know.”

Tsipras insisted asking again and again “your answer No or I don’t know?”

Afterwards, Alexis Tsipras stepped down from the podium in order to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to respond. However, then Parliament Speaker  Kostas Tasoulas suddenly intervened and in an effort to have Mitsotakis out of the difficult position, said that the prime minister would not answer.

At some point the PM reportedly called Tsipras “a liar”, claiming that the Greek state never procured the software. “And I was not the recipient of information other than the official channels of the EYP regarding the national security. If you have information, submit it. You are not ashamed to say that I was sitting at a computer and leave such insinuations. If you know that the leader was under surveillance how do you know that?” he asked. […]”Mr. Tsipras, the discussion ends today,” a furious Mitsotakis said.

It is recalled that with a legislation right after the elections in summer 2019, EYP came directly under the Prime Minister and his nephew, secretary general at PM’s office, was in charge of the intelligence service. the nephew resigned after the wiretapping of PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis broke out.

Right at the beginning of his speech, Tsipras fiercely attacked the PM over his attitude so far in the wiretapping case.

He accused Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “audacity and cowardice.”

“The characteristics of a guilty person is audacity and cowardice. Mr. Mitsotakis hid for a month and a half and avoided coming to the parliamentary scrutiny, proving his cowardice. Today, he also proves the second characteristic of guilt, which is audacity.”

Reservations on the bill

The Scientific Service of the Parliament has expressed its reservations on some points of the surveillance bill, especially those referring to the three-year moratorium.

The bill provides that a person being monitored can be informed three years later about it.

According to the Scientific Service, the three-year moratorium does not seem compatible with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

Questions are raised also for the provisions that the reason for the removal of privacy will not be disclosed as well as for the composition of the body that will proceed with the relevant briefing of the person concerned.

The Scientific Service makes special reference to the monitoring of political personnel, as it underlines that “the question arises, whether the removal of the communication privacy of a lawmaker constitutes a limitation of his person as defined in the Constitution.

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