MPs approve reforms via presidential decrees

There was no dissent in the coalition’s parliamentary ranks Thursday as government MPs supported legislation that will allow ministers to make significant changes in the public sector by issuing presidential decrees.

In a pared-down parliamentary session for summer, 52 MPs voted in favor of the legislation and 42 against, meaning there were no defections from the government camp.

Opposition parties accused the government of trying to introduce major reforms in the public administration without consulting Parliament. Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis denied this was the case and said that the presidential decrees would only be issued after services had been properly evaluated. He said this was an improvement on the previous method, which also allowed the use of presidential decrees for changes in the public administration.

Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras chaired a cabinet meeting during which he tried to banish rumors of possible national elections in the fall.

Source said that Samaras made reference during the meeting to the government’s targets for the rest of its consolidation program, which runs until June 2014.

Samaras also urged his ministers not to slacken off during August, when most Greeks take their vacation. The troika is due back in Athens in early September.