“Mr. Papagelopoulos, the closest associate of Mr. Tsipras, is the man to whom he had assigned the portfolio of Deputy Minister of Justice and Human Rights with responsibility for transparency issues. Mr. Papagelopoulos is being referred to the Special Court for the operation of a judicial circuit, for abuse of power, for gross interference in the judiciary, for a series of cases including the Novartis case,” said the government spokesman, Yannis Oikonomou, starting the briefing for political editors. “This development puts before everyone a deep political issue and delimits the tectonic rift that separates the ND and SYRIZA both at the level of principles and at the level of the exercise of power”, emphasized Mr. Economou.
He underlined that Mr. Tsipras thought it right after the referral of his second close associate to the Special Court for their political actions when they were members of his governments to boast arrogantly and threaten the prime minister and the current government with expressions of the type “We will let’s go to the end Mr. Mitsotakis”. He even commented that “in this way he is trying to overturn reality. That is, the fact that two of his close associates, two of his secret associates, have been referred to the Special Court. Mr. Tsipras is either confused or is practicing crude propaganda trying to justify the unjustified Mr. Papagelopoulos is not being nominated for any kind of award.” He also emphasized that the accused cannot turn into accusers. As long as they ruled, they tried to “manipulate and subvert justice with unbearable pressures, with strategies, with institutional diversions. Because Justice was one of the main bulwarks that finally prevented them from turning Greece into a pariah state outside of the European acquis. A state third-world and bankrupt in which they would find the opportunity to impose a totally authoritarian regime corresponding to the ever-existing socialism or South American-style regimes,” he added.
He countered at this point that “ND is the party that has a huge tradition of respect for institutions and the state” stressing that it respects and has fully ensured the independence of the Judiciary and even at a heavy price it has served the commitment to Democracy and Liberalism. “No member of our own government has ever attempted to guide the officers of Justice, fabricated evidence in unholy collaboration with shadowy figures. Extorted or threatened those acting on the basis of conscience and duty.”
He emphasized that this is also proven by the fact that, in the context of the exercise of justice, the original prosecution proposal was partially overturned. “Something like this would certainly not be allowed to happen by those who talk about controlling the joints of power. Therefore, we are separated by an unbridgeable abyss with the political culture, values, political practices and ideology of Mr. Tsipras and his companions.”
He also clarified his statements on Friday and emphasized that he made neither personal nor judicial decisions. “It is obvious that the issue of government interference in Justice is deeply political and institutional and touches the hard core of the state and the rule of law. The rest of the aspects are the work of the Special Court,” he underlined. He also countered that we should not forget that the same independent Greek Judiciary closed the case for 9 of the 10 political figures who were targeted, as he said by the dark SYRIZA system, and demanded answers from Alexis Tsipras “on this maximum issue”. , as he pointed out.
Mr. Economou then reminded that tomorrow it will be five years since the “parody” referendum organized by the most irresponsible parliamentary majority in our post-political history. A referendum that was the biggest political fraud against the Greek people since the ‘no’ of the ballot box, the product of the mockery of Greek men and women, within a few hours it turned into a ‘yes'”. And he spoke about a series of adventurous manipulations that brought the country to the brink and cost all Greeks dearly. He accused the official opposition leader of “having a clear plan to destroy the state and the institutions”.
“Never in our post-war history has the country suffered such a large economic cost in such a short period of time and never has it been so close to absolute chaos and total destruction,” said Mr. Oikonomou.
He referred to the closure of banks, the stock market slump, the problems faced by small and medium-sized businesses, the proliferation of foreclosures and the spike in unemployment, pointing out that the total economic cost to the country reached, according to estimates by European officials, 100 billion euros.
He said that “the beginning of the drama had started earlier with the requests for loans from Russia and China which closed the door in their face” and he also referred to the alleged “proud negotiation” and the crisis of confidence it caused, while he even spoke of “exit plan from the eurozone”, with references to statements by G. Varoufakis.
He also referred to specific contacts and events.
“Mr. Tsipras and the leadership group of SYRIZA still remain the same unrepentant but also incorrigible,” he stressed.
He pointed out that the internal dilemmas of 2015 should not return, with the simple proportional system at the forefront.
The government representative, when asked to inform the political editors about the retrospectives of the pensioners, replied that Mr. Hatzidakis has been appointed and that the decisions of the Court of Justice are always respected and accepted.
Regarding the Novartis case and the stance of SYRIZA, Mr. Economou stated that for nine of the ten political figures “whom the SYRIZA system targeted, they have been finally exonerated”. At the same time, he continued, the deputy minister of justice and close associate of Mr. Tsipras, Mr. Papagelopoulos, is referred for a series of cases, among which is the Novartis case. Mr. Economou noted that the intervention of Mr. Papagelopoulos to Ms. Raikou in order to speed up the promotion of the file on political figures in the Parliament even though there were no facts, calling on her to produce them.
Asked if the prime minister will apologize for what he has said about the involvement of journalists and if the government respects the decision of the Court, Mr. Economou replied that the government always respects the decisions of the Court. He also noted that the same Justice decided who should be indicted while it must be respected that for 9 out of 10 political figures who were accused and targeted, it also decided. “The case you mentioned has a judicial and criminal part in which I have nothing to say. It also has a political part. Politically, what the prime minister has said is valid and confirmed by the Raikou case,” he added.
When asked if there is an issue of Mr. Stournara’s stay, he replied that he was among the persons for whom the Justice has ruled that he has not the slightest involvement even though he was targeted.
Speaking after a related question at the meeting of the crisis management committee on natural gas supplies, he said that there would be announcements and that “we have worked out all possible scenarios to ensure the balance and adequacy of the supply chain in terms of natural gas”.
Asked to comment on a statement by Odysseus Konstantinopoulos that PASOK will not enter into a joint government, especially with Kyriakos Mitsotakis as prime minister, the government representative stated that the president of the first party must be prime minister, that the ND will seek an independent government in the second election process and that from then on “their prime ministers are decided by the Greek people and not by micro-aggrandizements”.
Regarding an international media investigation on immigration and the subject of re-deportations, Mr. Economou stated that there is no issue of stopping European funds, nor any complaint that would mobilize the authorities for these things. “Any complaint is investigated. There were complaints in the past that were investigated and nothing was found. On the contrary, many were found that indicated that they were due to Turkish propaganda. Greece is guarding its borders and saving lives in the Aegean and the Evros,” he underlined.
When asked if the government believes that the tension with Turkey can be transferred to the field, he replied that “we wish there should be no tension either in rhetoric or in the field” and that “the country monitors all the movements of the opposite side and is ready to face any challenge coolly, soberly and decisively”.