NEWS

Thousands of Greeks sign online petition for censure of parliamentary speaker

thousands-of-greeks-sign-online-petition-for-censure-of-parliamentary-speaker

A Facebook campaign for the ouster of House speaker Zoe Constantopoulou has gathered 18,500 “Likes” since it was launched on July 20, in the wake of a tense parliamentary vote on the first package of measures needed to kickstart talks between the Greek government and international creditors.

“She is the worst speaker that has sat at Greek Parliament; she doesn’t exercise but debases her duties,” Rigoula Georgiadou, a self-proclaimed leftist and one of the initiators of the campaign, tells Kathimerini.

Georgiadou is one of the 22 managers of the closed Facebook group “Censure Motion against the Speaker of Parliament,” where new members have to be approved before being allowed to sign the petition.

“We are all active politically but not with specific parties,” Georgiadou says, adding that petitioners have come from across the political spectrum and are all “deeply democratic.”

The group hopes to gather 20,000 signatures by August 20, the deadline by which the government needs to seal a deal with creditors to unlock new bailout funds.

The founders are aware of the fact that their petition has no legal grounds but hope that their campaign will mobilize lawmakers to file a motion of censure against Constantopoulou, who has been accused by MPs of obstructing parliamentary procedure and abusing her position.

“We don’t understand their apathy,” says Georgiadou of the lawmakers in the House. “It would be a tragedy if the third package of prior actions were to come to a Parliament still presided over by Constantopoulou, who will resort to her penchant for delaying and obstructing.”

A separate campaign in support of the outspoken and radical House speaker has gathered some 8,000 signatures.