NEWS

Government on a slippery slope

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Justice, Politics

Two prominent judicial officials were selected on Friday to replace the outgoing president and prosecutor of the Supreme Court despite intense criticism by legal experts and the political opposition over the legitimacy of the process before a snap election takes place on July 7.

Their appointments were announced by the cabinet after a recommendation by Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou.

Dimitra Kokotini and Irini Kalou, both currently vice presidents of the court, will respectively replace top prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou and court president Vasilios Peppas who will resign on June 30.

The government’s decision to proceed with the move has now placed President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in the frame and he will be called upon to ratify the appointments with a presidential decree.

However, as Kathimerini reported on Thursday, Pavlopoulos, a constitutional lawyer, is not expected to do so before June 30, in adherence to constitutional legality.

In 2016, Pavlopoulos had delayed the ratification of the installation by the current government – in a coalition with Independent Greeks (ANEL) – of Dimitriou as prosecutor until after the term of her predecessor had ended.

New Democracy slammed the cabinet decision, saying, “The outgoing government lacks the legitimacy to make any major decisions apart from those on current affairs ahead of the elections.”

In a statement, it berated the government over the “unconstitutional selection of a new president and prosecutor for the Supreme Court.”

“It is an institutionally unprecedented decision, which also involves the president of the republic, as he will be called to decide whether to ratify an institutionally illegal and unconstitutional action,” it said, adding that it was sure the president would act in line with his duties.

Meanwhile, in what is seen as a move driven by pre-election expediencies, the Finance Ministry on Friday announced an 11th hour hike in the compensation of some 7,000 employees at credit institutions who had been sacked before 2015.

Employees were demanding the entire compensation they were entitled to, as opposed to the 50 percent they received. Friday’s decision raised the compensation to 67 percent of the amount. The compensation hike will cost between 10 and 15 million euros.

Those affected by the decision published in the Government Gazette are former employees of the Agricultural Bank of Greece (absorbed by Piraeus Bank), TT Hellenic Postbank (absorbed by Eurobank) and Probank and First Business Bank (both absorbed by National Bank of Greece).

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