MPs set to approve 30mln-euro cash injection for parties

Parliament is due to vote Monday on whether political parties should receive 30 million euros in state funding as a lump sum before the elections amid vehement complaints from smaller groupings in the House.

The legislation that would award the five parties that entered Parliament in 2009 three installments of their public funding in one go was submitted to the House on Friday and immediately provoked outrage from several parties.

?This is a monstrosity,? said the leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis, who added that the funding should not be divided in proportion to the percentages they received in the 2009 general elections. According to opinion polls, support for PASOK has more than halved since then and backing for New Democracy has fallen by about a third.

PASOK and New Democracy representatives argued that the funding was necessary so the parties could mount election campaigns. ?A party cannot say that people should reconsider what money they provide for elections because this would put in doubt the conditions for a representative democracy,? said PASOK?s Petros Efthimiou.

?This amendment will enrage people even further,? said Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis. ?PASOK and ND have not changed their attitude and continue to provoke the people. At the same time you are filling people with despair through your policies, you are not asking for the repayment of bank loans of 250 million euros taken out by your parties.? Greece?s parties have received some 550 million euros from public coffers during the past decade but PASOK and ND owe about 250 million euros to their banks.

?We are asking citizens to make sacrifices and we want to have polling companies and luxury offices at our disposal?? said Democratic Left MP Yiannis Amoiridis. ?This is a time when we should be more humble.?

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is due to speak in the Athens suburb of Aegaleo today, while PASOK yesterday welcomed back ousted deputy Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou.