Extra payments to Parliament employees to be blocked

Parliamentary speaker Vangelis Meimarakis insisted on Wednesday that he would block a bonus payment of 1.3 million euros to parliamentary staff approved by his predecessor ahead of last month?s elections.

It emerged yesterday that New Democracy MP Vyron Polydoras, who served as the House speaker for just one day following the inconclusive May 6 elections, instructed the payment be made as an election bonus even though Parliament was immediately dissolved so new elections could be held on June 17. The former public order minister also approved payments of 300 euros for each policeman serving at the House.

Polydoras justified the payment by saying that according to parliamentary tradition, staff were entitled to a total of 4,000 euros each (2,000 for each election) but that he limited the payment to just 1,000 euros. The payments were introduced to cover the extra work that parliamentary employees carried out as a result of the arrival of a new batch of MPs following elections.

New Democracy MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to the payment to parliamentary staff as ?unacceptable? in a message posted on his Twitter account. Meimarakis, who was sworn in as parliamentary speaker last week, indicated that Polydoras did not have the authority to approve the payment for the June 17 vote and that he would attempt to block the bonus for the May 6 elections.

It also emerged Wenesday that 35 of the 300 MPs have turned down the right to have an official car. Deputies have an allowance of 750 to 1,200 euros per month for the use of a vehicle. NeoNazi Golden Dawn reportedly accepted the funds but said their MPs would pass on the vehicles to poor families.

According to this year?s parliamentary budget, MPS will be paid 21.2 million euros.

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