Questions on decree setting out hiring

The Council of State, which is to decide the fate of tens of thousands of people employed on a contract basis in the public sector, has called on the Interior Ministry to clarify 12 points of the Presidential Decree that it has drawn up in order to grant them permanent employment. The issue is one of the thorniest political questions as Costas Karamanlis’s New Democracy party promised before coming to power in March that it would employ permanently the 230,000 or so people employed on a contract basis. Under the Presidential Decree the government has presented, it is not clear how many people will benefit from the conditions that have been laid out. The Council of State, which is Greece’s highest administrative court, will rule on the substance of the issue on June 22. It called for the clarifications after a first approach to the legislation which was sent to it for vetting. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulous, who is to be given the request by the Council of State officially today, presented the questions as normal procedure not touching on the basic issue. But PASOK’s home affairs spokesman, Alekos Papadopoulos, declared that the questions «are objections of substance, and not formalities, which concern the Presidential Decree’s conformity with the Constitution.» Among the questions the Council of State is asking are why the legislation is in the form of a Presidential Decree and not a parliamentary bill, whether several ministers will have to sign the decree and if it will pertain to the private sector as well.