New budget chief denounced as partisan choice


House Speaker Nikos Voutsis’s decision to appoint a senior official of the ruling SYRIZA party as the the coordinator of the Parliament’s budget office (PBO) has sparked an uproar among lawmakers, with opposition parties accusing the government of compromising the notions of meritocracy and legality.

New Democracy said the SYRIZA-led government has been appointing party officials to state posts for some time in an attempt undermine the next conservative administration.

The appointment of Frangiskos Koutentakis – general secretary for Fiscal Policy until Monday – to the PBO is further “proof” of this, ND’s spokeswoman Maria Spyraki said.

“ND not only does not accept these party appointments, but will reinstate meritocracy and legality the day after elections,” she said.

Center-left Democratic Alignment also accused Voutsis of failing to follow the proper procedures, at the expense of other candidates for the post.

Voutsis said he was taken aback by the reactions and shocked by Spyrakis’s comments, insisting that the criteria used to select Koutentakis were his youth and his experience at the State General Accounting Office. He also said Koutentakis’s predecessor, Panayiotis Liargovas, whose term expired in November, was also a member of a party, namely ND.

Liargovas had come under fire from the government for the criticism the PBO leveled against the Finance Ministry’s policies on tax and growth.