Po­lit­i­cal storm over judge hir­ing

Op­po­si­tion par­ties slam PM’s of­fice for re­cruit­ing re­tired ju­di­cial of­fi­cial

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The left­ist-led gov­ern­ment clashed with the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy yes­ter­day over the ap­point­ment of the re­cently re­tired Supreme Court pres­i­dent, Vassiliki Thanou, to the head of the le­gal de­part­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, the lat­est clash in an in­creas­ingly po­lar­ized ex­change be­tween the two par­ties.

In an un­usu­ally strongly-worded state­ment, ND ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cerns over the move, call­ing it a “dark page for democ­racy.” Thanou’s ap­point­ment, the con­ser­va­tive party said, “ac­tively proves that this gov­ern­ment has no con­cept of the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers.”

Tsipras’s of­fice hit back, ac­cus­ing ND of “im­per­ti­nence” and of re­sort­ing to “lies, ob­scen­i­ties and mud­sling­ing.”

The move was also crit­i­cized by other op­po­si­tion par­ties. PASOK said the de­ci­sion “un­der­mined democ­racy it­self.” The chief of cen­trist To Po­tami, Stavros Theodor­akis, said it “ag­gra­vates our con­cerns about where the coun­try is headed.” Even Athens Mayor Gior­gos Kami­nis, who rarely takes a stance on po­lit­i­cal is­sues, was crit­i­cal. “It is a huge mis­take that sends the wrong mes­sage to so­ci­ety,” said Kami­nis, who once served as Greece’s om­buds­man.

Thanou has courted con­tro­versy this year, ini­tially with an ini­tia­tive to ex­tend the age limit for judges’ re­tire­ment, ahead of her own with­drawal from the ju­di­ciary, and then again last month over a gala she or­ga­nized to cel­e­brate the court’s 182nd an­niver­sary.

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