Tender law passed again

A turbulent chapter in the government’s bid to limit the influence of media moguls in the awarding of state contracts came to a close yesterday as Parliament voted through the revised version of legislation despite another walkout by PASOK. Some 10 months after the initial law banning anyone owning more than 1 percent in a media firm from being able to bid for a public tender worth more than 1 million euros, the ruling conservatives managed to have a less stringent version of the law adopted. Under the new legislation, a court will have to prove that a media owner exercised «illicit influence» over their organization to land a state contract. If the court is successful in proving the case, the bidder will be excluded from the tender, could be fined up to 1 million euros and not allowed to bid for a public contract again for up to five years. If he is part of a consortium, the other partners will not be affected. «This [law] is nothing, an absolute zero,» said PASOK leader George Papandreou, accusing the government of having provoked the intervention of the European Commission by trying to pass a law that was too strict in the first place. His party walked out before the vote took place.