NEWS

Conscripts failing to sign up

Two out of three prospective armed forces conscripts due to be drafted last year failed to present themselves for registration, Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos revealed in an interview with Kathimerini published on Sunday. Lambropoulos referred to «a drafting system which had come close to collapsing,» noting that an estimated 82,000 would-be conscripts have gained exemptions on various grounds. He added that punishment was rarely meted out to draft-dodgers or to armed forces officials who would often issue forged certificates of exemption. A ministry-backed investigation has revealed the existence of a ring believed to have been forging such certificates since 1997, he said. Lambropoulos said the problem called for major structural changes, adding that the government was considering making it compulsory for conscripts to be drafted at the age of 19. The government is also considering reducing the current term for military service – which ranges from 12 to 15 months – to just eight months, he said.