Bid for tighter local authority

Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday called for a radical restructuring of the country’s local government system, with fewer but larger centers of powers and the abolition of prefectural offices, to improve efficiency and flexibility. According to Kaklamanis, who is also president of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE), prefects should be replaced by elected regional governors and municipalities in large cities by larger «metropolitan» authorities. Addressing KEDKE’s annual conference, Kaklamanis said that prefectures were «an antiquated institution» whose role could be assumed by elected regional authorities. Regional officials are currently appointed by central government, unlike mayors and prefects, who are elected. Prefects would assume new posts within the regional authorities. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos backed Kaklamanis’s suggestion, which elaborates upon a proposal by the ministry last month that would slash the country’s municipalities and prefectures by more than 60 percent, a plan based on similar European models.