PM mulls whether to fire minister

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is under increasing pressure from some Cabinet members to sack Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis in order to relieve the pressure on the government over the sale of allegedly overpriced bonds to pension funds, sources said yesterday. Karamanlis has backed his minister since the scandal became public last month and has supported the changes Tsitouridis is making to the law so that pension funds are protected from making questionable investments in the future. However, sources indicated that the prime minister was reconsidering his stance as the pressure from the opposition and some of the media has been relentless. Tsitouridis was in Parliament yesterday to see the government vote through the house his amendment on the election of pension fund presidents. As a result, a new committee will oversee the appointment of the presidents of most pension funds. Also, Labor Ministry officials will not be able to sit on the boards of certain funds. Under the new law, pension fund boards, including their presidents, will not be able to serve for more than three years without their position being reviewed. No official will be allowed to serve more than three three-year terms. PASOK is examining whether members of the government were guilty of breach of faith as part of their involvement in the sale of bonds to pension funds.

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