NEWS

Parties reject ex-MPs? demands

Greece?s main political parties on Monday all came out in opposition of an attempt by former MPs to claim back pay and pension benefits even though most of the ex-deputies represented the very same groupings.

?PASOK?s parliamentary group expressed some time ago its opposition to the legal challenge being mounted by the lawmakers,? said the head of the Socialist party?s group of MPs, Vassilis Exarchos.

?Under the current circumstances we are experiencing, there is no way changes can be made,? said PASOK?s Alternate Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou.

?No serving New Democracy deputy harbors any ambitions to receive back pay,? said New Democracy parliamentarian Costas Tasoulas. ?During this crucial economic period, such a request could not be accepted.?

?At a time when people are suffering and things are really difficult, nobody has the right to provoke with these types of demands,? said ND?s parliamentary spokesman Costas Tzavaras.

The case first came to light in May when a judge told a parliamentary committee that some 800 former lawmakers who served in Parliament between 2003 and 2008 had taken legal action to demand the money. They based their action on a law passed in 2008 which ruled that MPs should receive pay that is equal to the salaries of the country?s top judges.

The former MPs are claiming that they have received smaller pensions and less pay than they were entitled to as a result of Parliament not applying the law on their wages. The House has so far voted for the pay rises not to come into effect but the deputies claim that since they are no longer serving MPs, they are not bound by Parliament?s commitment not to apply the law to increase lawmakers? wages.

Judicial sources told Kathimerini on Monday that the only solution to the situation is for the former lawmakers to give up their legal battle. However, it emerged this weekend that 117 former MPs from the two main parties, socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy — including former ministers such as Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Michalis Liapis ? have refused to drop their court challenges.