Political storm over judge hiring
Opposition parties slam PM’s office for recruiting retired judicial official
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.