Greek lawmakers on Thursday approved with an overwhelming majority the appointment of Kostas Tasoulas as new Parliament president, in their first vote since the House convened after the July general elections.
Tasoulas, a lawmaker for Ioannina, secured 283 votes in the 300-seat Parliament, breaking the record for similar votes. A total of 298 MPs participated in the vote and 15 voted "present."
The previous record was held by former SYRIZA MP Zoe Konstantopoulou, who had received 235 votes in January 2015.
Tasoulas was approved by New Democracy, main opposition SYRIZA, centre-left Movement for Change (KINAL), the far-right Greek Solution and MeRA25. The Communist Party voted “present.”
“The House should become the parliamentary pillar of the country's recovery and change its discredited image. It's a very difficult, mammoth task, but let it not prove Sisyphean,” he told lawmakers in his his speech after his election.
His first action will be to speed up the formation of the Parliament’s Permanent Committees which study legislation.
More generally, he is also expected to urge lawmakers to attend House sessions regularly and halt the habit of ministries to include numerous last-minute amendments in irrelevant draft bills.
Tasoulas will also try to implement a strict smoking ban inside the Parliament, as requested by the prime minister.