PM seeks ban on jobs for relatives

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras asked the Justice Ministry on Thursday to draw up legislation by next week that would prevent MPs from hiring their spouses or other relatives as parliamentary employees.

Samaras took the initiative a few weeks after it emerged that one of his deputies, Vyron Polydoras, had hired his daughter and a few days after Panos Kammenos, the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks, admitted that he had hired his cousin. Another New Democracy MP, Yiannis Tragakis, also hired a relative to work in his parliamentary offices.

In a statement issued by the prime minister?s office, Samaras asked for the creation of legislation that would ban the hiring of spouses and first- and second-degree relatives to any public sector positions, where MPs are allowed to make appointments.

A few years ago, a law was passed to prevent these employees from becoming permanent civil servants.

Kammenos, whose party has been very critical of the questionable practices of the political establishment, said earlier this week that his decision to hire his cousin was justified. ?He is a university professor and has taken on organizational tasks for the party. He works from morning until night. What?s the problem? Why all this fuss??

Earlier this month, Polydoras, who served as parliamentary speaker for just one day following the inconclusive May 6 elections, responded to criticism about appointing his daughter by saying that he had done nothing illegal and that Greek law actually entitled him to appoint six employees while he had appointed only one.