Gov’t to change electoral law in local authority power bid


Alexis Tsipras confirmed on Thursday his government’s intention to increase its influence at the local authority level by announcing a change in the election system of the 2019 municipal elections.

“We are open to dialogue but we are determined to enforce the simple proportional system,” Tsipras said, adding that in this way “we are changing the way municipal authorities operate.”

The decision has been blasted by mayors across the country as a way for the government – currently lagging behind main opposition New Democracy in the polls – to overcome its relatively weak influence at the municipal level.

The new electoral system will, critics insist, work at the expense of the party that holds the majority at the level of local authority.

Instead it could benefit the party that comes second and this could also sap the power of elected mayors, who claim that all the new system will actually do is paralyze local authorities.

With regard to the fate of local authority workers on short-term contracts, Tsipras said his governments wants to find a solution by the end of the year so as “to end the hostage situation these workers are in,” and called on political parties to submit their proposals on the matters so a solution is achieved.

Last week a demonstration outside the offices of the Interior Ministry by members of the POE-OTA local authority workers’ union demanding the granting of permanent status came to an end after Interior Minister Panos Skourletis reportedly offered unionists some reassurances.