ATHENS – Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, who’s been mentioned as a candidate for Greek President, said he didn’t believe stories some lawmakers would be bribed to support the ruling parties choice.
A prosecutor is probing a report in a Greek newspaper that backers of the government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and his coalition partner the PASOK Socialists wanted to pay off Members of Parliament to get enough votes to support whomever the leaders want.
The coalition has only 155 votes in the 300-member Parliament and 180 is needed to elect a President to a largely symbolic office. Failure to do so would trigger early national elections a year before the government’s term runs out and the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is leading in polls.
Kouvelis made his statements following his testimony to the Appeals Prosecutor Panagiotis Panagiotopoulos, who is investigating into MPs’ bribery allegations, the Athens News Agency reported.
Kouvelis underlined that he does not have any information for such an incident and added: “I believe that this process creates artificial polarization, which upsets the functioning of democracy. Part of the political system is attached to specific economic interests of organized groups.”
There had been reports that Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos would pick Kouvelis, whose party served in the coalition before quitting in a dispute over firing public workers, to be their man in an attempt to stymie SYRIZA.
The former leader of Synaspismos party Nikos Konstantopoulos has been summoned to testify on Oct. 20 and deputy Ioannis Panousis will testify on Oct. 21,