NEWS

No money for European elections

The Interior Ministry said yesterday it is looking for some 72 million euros to cover the cost of the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections, as the previous government allegedly squandered nearly all the funds budgeted for this year’s two elections on the March 7 national polls. «We looked for funds in the state budget for the European elections, and found next to nothing,» Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said. Pavlopoulos asserted that the Socialists had budgeted 79,550,000 euros to cover the cost of the national polls and the June Euro-election, but spent all but 500,000 on the March 7 vote. «This proves that major issues were handled by politicians who were not in a position to budget – or did not wish to, in order to convey a different image of the state of the economy – even roughly, the cost of two elections,» Pavlopoulos said. The new government has pledged to take stock of the public finances, claiming that PASOK, while in power, repeatedly cooked the books to present the economy in an unrealistically flattering light. «The stocktaking will go ahead,» Pavlopoulos said yesterday. Former Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis countered that the March 7 vote had involved higher expenditure than usual, as for the first time voters cast their ballots without displaying special voting papers, and people were allowed to vote for their own constituency without actually going there. According to Pavlopoulos, some 71,900,000 euros will be required for the June elections. Around 13,400,000 euros will be spent on ballot boxes, voting papers, envelopes and other expenses, while a further 59 million will cover electoral officials’ salaries, together with their subsistence and travel costs.