New Democracy’s efforts to shift attention away from the spying scandal are being tripped up by the continued muddled messaging emanating from the ruling centre-right party, which is hoping that Greece’s imminent exit from the enhanced surveillance of its lenders and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair next month will prove welcome distractions.
Political pressure on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his government intensified on Wednesday, when PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis rejected the government’s handling of the revelation that he had been the subject of surveillance by Greece’s intelligence service.
Looking to deflect some of the criticism over the spying scandal that has gripped Greek politics, the government has fast-tracked reform of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), hoping this will convince the public that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is determined to put right the mistakes that led to the agency monitoring PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis.
A fresh round of questions and accusations have been levelled at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after his eagerly anticipated statement on the surveillance of the leader of an opposition party failed to clear the air.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is due to make a statement on Monday in response to the gathering spying revelations that have sent his government reeling and left the Prime Minister facing the toughest political challenge of his tenure.
After evading and playing down for weeks claims it was spying on journalists and political rivals, the government was rocked on Friday by the resignation of the Prime Minister’s general secretary, Grigoris Dimitriadis, and the head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), Panagiotis Kontoleon, in what is shaping up as the biggest scandal yet during Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s tenure.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis heads for his summer holidays on Friday knowing that upon his return he will have to decide with his ministers what relief measures the government will set out at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) next month.
The government’s confidence in its handling of Covid-19 over the summer is being challenged by the high death toll recorded in July, and the expectation of a new wave in the autumn.
Greece’s best years for tourism arrivals since 2019, before the pandemic, is being viewed by the government as timely tonic, but is becoming a bone of contention for the opposition, which feels that New Democracy is trying to exaggerate the upturn for communications purposes.
As the political leadership prepares for the summer recess, top government officials are starting to adopt a cautious tone in view of what is expected to be a challenging winter ahead.