Ex-judge says gov’t intervened to ban extreme-right party
With the Supreme Court having launched the proceedings sanctioned by a parliamentary amendment to increase the number of judges in the special chamber that will decide the electoral fate of the extreme-right party of jailed Ilias Kasidiaris, there was fresh political fallout on Wednesday after the top court’s former vice president Christos Tzanerikos, who resigned last week, claimed the government had offered him incentives to facilitate the ban on National Party-Greeks from the elections.
More specifically, Tzanerikos claimed that in addition to Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis, he was also approached by a second government official suggesting to him that, in exchange for facilitating the ban on Kasidiaris’ party, he would be given a position in an independent authority after his retirement.
However, the Greek edition of Kathimerini also received reports that Tzanerikos did not meet with a government official but with a person outside of politics, who conveyed to him the message from the government regarding the case.
In response to Tzanerikos’ claims, the main opposition SYRIZA party issued a stern statement asking Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to reveal which government official met with the resigned judge and to confirm whether he was offered a position at an independent authority.
In fact, in its announcement, the leftist party also implied that Mitsotakis himself may have been the person who met with Tzanerikos, asking: “Does Mr Mitsotakis know him personally? Or does he look at him in the mirror every morning?” For his part, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou vehemently denied the claims.
“There was no intervention by the government,” he said, insisting that this could not have taken place, “because our opinion that criminals and knife-wielders should not be candidates in the elections is non-negotiable.”
“Bargains, exchanges, arrangements were not made and could not be made under any circumstances. It is outside our value framework and our logic,” he stressed.