Gov’t and opposition spar in Parliament over new legislative initiatives


The government essentially underwent its first crash test Monday regarding its legislative plans in Parliament.

At the forefront of this legislative push are a provision regarding the abolition of the so-called university asylum and one which seeks to replace the leadership of the Competition Commission.

Both moves have come under intense opposition fire.

Defending the government’s bid to scrap the university asylum, Education Minister Niki Kerameus said Monday “the objective of our legislative initiative is to restore common sense and to thereby put an end to its distortion and manipulation and being turned into an asylum for lawlessness.”

“With these new regulations we will strengthen academic freedom and the free movement of ideas and we will make sure that illegal actions… are punished and are prevented inside and outside university grounds,” Kerameus said.

The asylum was originally introduced to protect protesting students and freedom of expression, but the conservative administration says this has degenerated into a cover for lawlessness. The provision regarding the asylum is to be voted on this Thursday.

The initiative was blasted by SYRIZA lawmaker Pavlos Polakis, who said that “ideas are not defeated by laws,” while Dimitris Tzanakopoulos referred to a “far-right frenzy of the government.”

The government is also set to clash with SYRIZA over an article in a multi-bill tabled last week that seeks the replacement of the leadership of the country’s Competition Commission, which is an independent authority.

The article in question, 101, institutes strict rules regarding matters pertaining to conflict of interest.

According to sources, Vassiliki Thanou, the current head of the independent authority, is on her way out on the grounds of conflict of interest.

According to a recommendation accompanying the bill, heads and members of independent administrative authorities must not hold or have held posts in political offices of the prime minister, or have been members of the government or government bodies.

“SYRIZA cannot control the independent Competition Commission,” said Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis.