Marathon act causes an uproar

The government’s decision to resort to a legislative process designed for national emergencies to disentangle an Olympics-related project from the threat of a long court battle prompted the opposition yesterday to accuse the ruling socialists of incompetence, high-handedness and deviousness. Fearing delays to works on the Marathon race route from court appeals by local residents and environmental groups, the government issued a legislative act on a series of expropriations and alterations to the landscape. Such acts can be challenged in court on constitutional and not legal grounds. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas defended the act yesterday, saying the work «had to proceed swiftly,» and berated opposition New Democracy for «trying… to harm national interests.» ND’s Procopis Pavlopoulos said the government wanted to «ratify illegal administrative acts and avoid Parliament.» Another conservative MP, Manolis Kefaloyiannis, said the legislative act «constitutes an admission of the government’s inability to carry out the work in time and within budgetary limits.»