SYRIZA aims to install cadres in key posts


As leftist SYRIZA finds itself slipping ever further in opinion polls, the governing party is making efforts to install its representatives across the state apparatus and is expected to change the electoral law ahead of local authority elections next year, Kathimerini understands. 

A draft bill, expected to be submitted in Parliament in due course, aims to impose the system of simple proportional representation ahead of local authority elections in 2019.

The move appears to be geared towards ensuring that there is no overall majority in most municipalities, allowing SYRIZA to exert greater influence.

Meanwhile efforts are also under way to put leftist officials into key positions in the judiciary and other key parts of the state apparatus.

The recent appointment of Frangiskos Koutentakis, former general secretary of fiscal policy, in the post of president of Parliament’s Budget Office appears to be the tip of the iceberg.

In June, the government is expected to appoint a new president to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, and new vice presidents for all Greece’s top courts including the Supreme Court and the State Audit Council.

With 20 top judges due to retire this year, it is expected that those posts will be filled by government appointees.

The efforts to install supporters in the ranks of the civil service are already in evidence. Last week the leftist-led coalition passed into law a reform that effectively helps state workers on short-term contracts to secure long-term employment.

The legislation abolishes a 24-month limit to the renewal of short-term contracts and the three-month obligatory pause between contracts. It applies to all contract workers who have been hired since November 2016.

According to critics, the legislation effectively excludes new entrants and is a tactic aimed at securing the backing of its supporters ahead of scheduled general elections next year.

SYRIZA continues to trail New Democracy in the polls ahead of the 2019 general elections. A poll by Rass made public over the weekend puts the conservatives 10.2 percentage points ahead of SYRIZA.