MPs up in arms over work ban

Members of Parliament threatened revolt yesterday when the government said it would table a bill next week forcing deputies to suspend their professional activities or resign their seats. Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said the new bill would be presented on Monday – two days before the budget debate – and would give MPs until December 31 to choose between their seats and their jobs. Under the revised Constitution, MPs may not be professionally employed, and should not own, hold shares in or sit on the board of media companies or public contractors. Although this ban comes into effect on January 1, the government was supposed to draft a law regulating its finer details. That remained largely forgotten until this week. Yesterday, four PASOK MPs threatened to resign if the law is passed, while deputies from all parties vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights seeking compensation for lost income.