Law scrapping uni asylum, return of certain executive powers to mayors passed by Greek Parliament

Thursday, 08 August 2019 19:52
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A majority of Parliament deputies - all from the ruling New Democracy (ND) party - on Thursday afternoon approved three very high-profile and urgently tabled draft laws that essentially fulfill a handful of pre-election pledges by the center-right party and its leader, PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The inter-ministerial draft legislation essentially scraps a "university asylum" regime - instituted in 1982 and watered down in 2010 - that prevented law enforcement in Greece from entering campuses, except with the expressed permission of the rector's office or the faculty senate, even in instances when felony offenses were taking place.

The specific article, 64, was also approved by MPs from the small right-wing Elliniki Lysi (Greek Solution) party.

Another amendment returns certain executive powers to mayors and regional governors elected - in a second round - without a majority of councilors on municipal and regions' councils, "fallout" from a more simple representational system passed by the previous Tsipras government and first employed in the May 2019 local government election.

Finally, the government majority of MPs on Thursday passed new conflict of interest clauses for the heads of independent regulatory and watchdog agencies, legislation directly and very publicly aimed at current Competition Committee president Vassiliki Thanou.

Thanou, a retired jurist, was chosen by the Tsipras government as the supreme court president in June 2015 ahead of eight more senior high court justices. She was later recommended, by then PM Alexis Tsipras, as a caretaker prime minister ahead of the September 2015 snap election.

Afterwards, Thanou expressed an interest in remaining as the supreme court president even after the mandatory retirement age of 67, something supported by the Tsipras government but ultimately deemed as unconstitutional.

After retirement she was appointed as the unpaid director of the legal office at the prime minister's office, before the Tsipras government nominated her as the head of the watchdog authority, a proposal passed by a SYRIZA party Parliamentary majority.  

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