Clash on rush to table bill

The ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and opposition New Democracy clashed yesterday over an amendment to a law abolishing a previous amendment, while the government spokesman questioned the propriety of publishing voting intentions gleaned through telephone polls. After the furor over the passage, late at night on Wednesday, of an amendment to an investment law favoring a property developer’s schemes to build holiday housing on forestland, the government had pledged to submit a new amendment annulling the previous one. However, New Democracy MPs submitted their own at 10.30 a.m. yesterday, about an hour and a half ahead of Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis. «We were waiting for the government to take the initiative, as it had pledged… It didn’t do so, and we brought an amendment ourselves,» said Dimitris Sioufas, general secretary of the ND parliamentary group. Government spokesman Christos Protopapas chided New Democracy for playing «childish games.» «We are not annoyed by the fact that ND submitted its own amendment, but by this game of who got there first,» he said. Protopapas questioned yesterday’s presentation of a phone poll by Skai radio station. The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday by V-PRC, showed a widening of the gap in voting intentions in favor of New Democracy to 4.3 percent – 31.8 percent to 27.5 percent for PASOK – compared to 3.2 percent in a similar poll last week. Protopapas referred to the polling companies’ code suggesting that publishing voting intention results of phone polls be avoided.

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