Govt backs off from pre-election transfers, appointments in Parliament, following outcry

Thursday, 06 June 2019 21:22
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The government on Thursday afternoon backed off a hasty plan to transfer 32 civil servants from other state entities to Parliament and its affiliated foundation, after a firestorm of criticism by the opposition, the media and social media over charges of favoritism and nepotism.

Going directly into "spin" mode amid a still unofficial pre-election period, government sources said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself contacted Parliament President Nikos Voutsis to nix the transfers. A torrent of draft amendments and riders were tabled in Parliament this week by SYRIZA MPs, with most of the proposed legislation sharply criticized as petty partisan favors and accommodations ahead of the July 7 snap election.

The statement, by the government side, was that "...despite the fact that everything is legal, transparent and with bipartisan consensus, the (issue) was exploited by (main opposition) ND to create impressions of a crescendo of expediency."

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Voutsis, whose ex-wife was reported as one of the beneficiaries of the transfers, said 32 such instances have been "put on ice".

One such transfer to a more prestigious and higher-paying job involved the daughter of SYRIZA MP and Parliament vice-president Tasia Christodoulopoulou, who wanted to head to the legislature from a current position at the post office.

In earlier comments, the latter admitted that "certain acquaintances and connections etc. were exploited" to gain her daughter's transfer, although she said the state will not be burdened with a "...drachma more, because she's already being paid by the state".

Meanwhile, two recent "photographic" appointees on Thursday resigned from their newly acquired posts, namely, the daughter of a Parliament general secretary, who had gained an appointment to the Parliament's foundation while already working on a one-year contract.

Another appointee, the daughter of a top SYRIZA parliamentary group cadre, also employed with a time-specific contract, also resigned from her new appointment. Both women cited ethical concerns as motivating their resignation.

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