Parliament speaker chides government over legislative acts

House Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis said on Thursday that he had received assurances from the government that it would stop tacking amendments onto bills to which they have no relevance and using legislative decrees to speed up the parliamentary procedure.

Meimarakis made the remarks in Parliament on Thursday after the government withdrew an amendment that would have severely limited the powers of the state to carry out checks on how the Church of Greece and its institutions are managed.

The amendment drew criticism from opposition parties as well as PASOK spokesman Odysseas Constantinopoulos. The legislation would have meant that any checks being carried out now would have stopped and that future inspections could only be carried out on the say-so of the education minister.

“After an outcry, they withdrew the article that would have exempted the Church from financial checks,” said SYRIZA lawmaker Dimitris Papadimoulis via his Twitter account. “Now let them tell us who put it in and why.”

The amendment had been included in a legislative decree submitted to Parliament by the Finance Ministry. The government often tags unrelated amendments onto bills to speed up the parliamentary process but Meimarakis said that this practice, as well as the repeated use of legislative acts, had gone too far and that he called Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to ask for the government to stop doing it.

“I want to state in the most categorical and official manner to the government that it is the view of all parties that legislative decrees should only be used in exceptional cases and when there is good reason,” Meimarakis said in a statement to Parliament.

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