Court blocks PASOK candidate

PASOK accused the Supreme Court yesterday of making a politically biased decision in its ruling to prevent Athens-Piraeus Prefect Fofi Gennimata from standing as a parliamentary candidate for the Socialists in the September 16 election. The Supreme Court ruled on Saturday night that Gennimata could not stand because article 56 of the Constitution stipulates that local authority officials have to see out their term in office before they can stand as MPs. The court clarified that the law does not allow officials to quit their posts so they can become candidates. PASOK secretary Nikos Athanassakis yesterday labeled the ruling as a «judicial coup d'etat.» «The problem with the judiciary in Greece is deep and extremely important,» said Athanassakis. «The Supreme Court did not protect its institutional standing and independence and became actively involved in the election campaign.» Gennimata, a popular figure whose father had been a PASOK minister, was outspoken in her criticism of the judges' decision. «We are dealing with the old and unscrupulous Right,» said the 44-year-old. Gennimata had been placed at the top of PASOK's State List, which is made up of 12 candidates that do not stand in any specific constituency but are elected to Parliament based on the proportion of the vote received by their party. She would therefore have been guaranteed a seat in Parliament, regardless of whether PASOK won the election or not. Gennimata said she would continue to be in the «front line» during the election campaign. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos did not comment on the ruling but referred to three interviews given by Gennimata over the last year in which she said prefects should not stand as parliamentary candidates as it was unconstitutional. PASOK suffered another blow yesterday when the party's main representative on Thessaloniki's prefectural council, Voula Patoulidou, tendered her resignation in writing. The former Olympic gold medalist hurdler claimed that before she ran as a candidate for Thessaloniki prefect, George Papandreou had promised her a place high up on the party's State List of candidates.