Parliament kept open for amendments

Parliament kept open for amendments

Opposition parties indicated on Tuesday that they will boycott Parliament after the government submitted a series of amendments to the House, chiefly foreseeing public sector hirings. 

With just a month to go before a snap general election, lawmakers said they were opposed to the government’s plan to keep Parliament open for a few more days so that it can pass 11th hour legislation that will make it practically impossible for them to examine its content in detail. 

Conservative New Democracy lawmakers denounced the move given that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had on May 26 announced a snap general election and the dissolution of Parliament in the wake of ruling SYRIZA’s resounding defeat in the European Parliament elections. 

“We believe that the day after the July 7 elections is when parliamentary procedures should return to normal,” said ND MP Costas Tsiaras. 

Among the government’s moves was that of Education Minister Costas Gavroglou, who asked the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) to launch proceedings for the recruitment of 10,500 new school teachers over the next two years. 

Moreover, the Interior Ministry submitted an amendment to extend the contracts of temporary municipal sanitation employees until the appointment of 8,166 new permanent staff. Meanwhile, the fire department confirmed the recruitment of 962 new firefighters as the firefighting season begins. 

The flurry of amendments came despite a call by Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis for no non-essential bills. 

ND said it would examine the legality of the government’s hirings ahead of the election. Shadow administrative reform minister Giorgos Georgandas said any “illegal appointment outside of ASEP” would be “scrutinized for both its legality and its necessity.” 

MPs will have limited time to examine the amendments as they also have to vote on an environmental protection agreement with Azerbaijan and on the Nagoya Protocol for protecting biodiversity, a reformed criminal code and legislation on a grant from the private Stavros Niarchos Foundation. 

Sources said the government plans to keep Parliament open until early next week in order to pass a bill on the country’s forest maps.

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