Greek parliament votes to investigate wiretapping scandal

FILE - Nikos Androulakis, head of the opposition socialist PASOK party, who is also a European Parliament member, speaks during his party's meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Greek lawmakers are discussing a wiretapping scandal that has roiled the government ahead of elections due to be held next year, in a parliamentary session called following revelations that the intelligence service had bugged Androulakis' phone. (George Kontarinis/Eurokinissi via AP, File) (George Kontarinis)

ATHENS – Greek lawmakers voted Monday for a parliamentary investigation into the tapping by the country's secret service of an opposition party leader's phone.

The scandal has plunged Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' center-right government into a political storm. Mitsotakis has denied any prior knowledge of the surveillance, which he said was wrong, and pledged to overhaul the EYP secret service.

On Monday, 142 lawmakers voted for the parliamentary investigation, easily exceeding the 120-vote threshold needed. All 157 government lawmakers attending the ballot voted present. One lawmaker in the 300-seat house was absent.

The commission — where government lawmakers will have a majority — will have at least a month to carry out the probe.

The committee will also examine allegations that phones belonging to officials in Greece's communist party were tapped in 2016, under a previous left-wing government.

The current scandal broke after revelations that Nikos Androulakis, a European Parliament member and head of Greece’s third-largest political party, was put under surveillance for three months last year when he was running for his PASOK party’s leadership. A financial journalist also was under surveillance.

Mitsotakis, who faces reelection next year, has insisted he was unaware of what he has called the legal wiretapping of Androulakis but said he would not have approved the move had he known about it. He has not revealed the reasons for Androulakis being under surveillance, citing national security concerns.

The head of EYP and a close aide to Mitsotakis have resigned over the scandal.