Media reports point to cascade of last-minute hirings, accommodation of SYRIZA cadres, relatives before Parliament closes

Thursday, 06 June 2019 14:37
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A cascade of late-minute hirings by Parliament's foundation, signed by Parliament President Nikos Voutsis, along with numerous transfers of civil servants from one state entity to another - 32 alone were published on Wednesday - are apparently dominating the government majority's agenda this week, with the opposition and several media outlets charging that the ruling party is engaging in a pre-election campaign to appoint and accommodate the offspring, former spouses, party cadres and SYRIZA supporters.    

While national elections are set for July 7, nonetheless, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has not officially tendered his resignation and requested from the president of the republic to dissolve the current government.

In an unprecedented statement this week, Voutsis, a top SYRIZA cadre, gave a breadth of four days, July 7 to July 10, for Tsipras to pass through the presidential mansion's doors. As such, Parliament remains open this week and is fielding dozens of amendments and riders filed by individual MPs, all from the ruling party, and ministries.

All opposition parties, sans a handful of MPs from the now essentially defunct Potami party, have abstained from Parliament sessions, underlining that the outgoing government does not have the political mandate to pass legislation.

In a statement on Thursday, main opposition New Democracy (ND) referred to an "orgy" of last-minute graft and petty partisan favors.

Among the dozens of new hirings and transfers, according to media reports, is the daughter of Parliament's general secretary, who up until recently was a contract employee in the office of the interior minister. The hiring was revealed on June 1 on the dikaiologitika news  site.

Other transfers, to better-paid and more prominent positions, include Voutsis' ex wife, the daughter of SYRIZA MP and Parliament vice-president Tasia Christodoulopoulou, the office staff head of one-time deputy education minister Costas Zouraris, who hails from right-wing and now also defunct AN.EL party, a special adviser in Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis' office and the director for Parliament's statement of means and assets committee.

Additionally, the slim Parliament majority still in session approved of a two-year contract with a journalist who in the past served in former tourism minister Elena Kountoura's press office, and the hiring, in a permanent position, of a reporter with the low-circulation Athens daily "Avgi", which is the SYRIZA-affiliated newspaper.

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