Presidential objection to work ban on MPs

Five months before the expiry of his second five-year term in office, President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday made a foray into government affairs to attack a two-year-old law forcing MPs to choose between their jobs and their seats. Speaking to local officials during a visit to Livadia, some 80 kilometers northwest of Athens, Stephanopoulos described the work ban for deputies as «disastrous.» «It is not right that it should be incompatible [for MPs to have a job and at the same time retain their seats],» the 78-year-old president said. «I am afraid this could make it hard to raise parliamentary standards.» Stephanopoulos, who was first elected in March 1995, said the ban meant only members of political parties had a chance to become MPs, rather than ordinary citizens. The law was passed in December 2002, and was based on constitutional reforms in 2001.