House President Demetris Syllouris sought to play down Friday the decision to honour the late former interior minister Dinos Michaelides who had been convicted for corruption in Greece following the reaction of parties, after the fact.
On Wednesday, the few MPs present at the plenum were asked to stand up and hold a minute’s silence in the memory of 83-year-old Michaelides who died recently in Athens where he was under house arrest.
In 2015, Michaelides and son Michalis were sentenced to 15 years in jail in Greece for helping a leading Greek politician take millions of euros in kickbacks from arms deals.
Michaelides was released a few months later because of serious health problems. He posted a €700,000 bond and was ordered to remain in Greece under house arrest and report to the police twice a month.
The decision drew criticism, forcing MPs to rethink their action at the time.
Disy spokesman Demetris Demetriou tweeted that honouring Michaelides in the plenum was wrong.
“As unawares as I was, I should have reacted differently, either by leaving or remaining seated. Let us at least strike off those convicted to put an end to the rot,” Demetriou said.
He later tweeted again saying his position represented the entire Disy parliamentary group.
Main opposition Akel wrote a letter to Syllouris asking for prior briefing next time so that they would not be caught unawares again.
The party said it realised this was the practice, but it could not ignore that in this case the person in question had been convicted for corruption.
To honour a public person, their whole life must be taken into consideration, the party said.
Syllouris said parliament was just following the long-standing practice “as it had done in the past with other MPs or state officials, either from Akel or Disy, or other parties, despite them also being convicted.”