Next target: Political finances

As part of a new wave of anti-corruption measures, the government is gearing up to announce a draft law which will place restrictions on the funding of political parties and a tight watch on politicians’ assets, a New Democracy official said yesterday. «We want rules to be brought in and our party is a pioneer when it come to the realization of all these suggestions,» ND Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis said at the party’s youth organization (ONNED) congress. He said that Greeks had «applauded» the government’s media bill, announced last week, which severely limits access to public contracts by shareholders in media companies, and that the government was poised to take measures intended to clear up political finances. The Interior Ministry is currently drawing up a bill which will be announced in January, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Among the proposals is thought to be the setting-up of a six-member committee which will act as a watchdog on matters relating to party finances and the assets of politicians, MPs and officials whose position involves handling large sums of public money. The two basic areas the body will keep an eye on are, firstly, where political parties, MPs and candidates get their funding from – not just during an election period. It will also check up on the declaration of assets (known in Greece as the pothen esches) made by political figures, such as ministers, departmental secretaries, regional secretaries, MPs and directors of public organizations. The indications are that these inspections will be constant, focusing as much on the value of assets declared as on their nature – an element the government feels the current legal framework lacks. Another committee will be set up to examine the assets of high-ranking civil servants.