NEWS

Opposition to Kallikratis grows

Protests by local authority officials against Kallikratis, an ambitious government plan to redraw administrative boundaries and overhaul local government, continued yesterday with the resignation of the entire council of a municipality in the Peloponnese. Meanwhile, residents of the small town of Siatista, near Kozani in northern Greece, blocked the Egnatia Highway for the fourth day in a row, complaining that their town has not been made the capital of Voios municipality. The leader of the main opposition conservative New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras, appeared to take advantage of the mood, calling on local government officials affiliated to ND to encourage residents in their areas to oppose the bill, due to be submitted in Parliament soon. «If the government persists with this choice, it will incur a heavy cost,» Samaras said. Although the main aim of Kallikratis is not to cut costs, it is estimated that it will save up to 2 billion euros and the merging of some local authorities will inevitably lead to job losses. Yesterday’s protests, though, were not protests at planned mergers of local authorities, but the opposite. The mayor of Gargalianoi, Stavros Kalofolias, and members of his municipal council said they had decided to tender their resignations to the region’s general secretary because their proposal for the merger of their municipality with that of adjacent Filiatra has not been approved by the Interior Ministry. The municipal authorities of Corinth were also up in arms yesterday, demanding that the borders of their municipality be extended to reach the Isthmus of Corinth, while authorities in Tropaia, in the prefecture of Arcadia, want to be unified with two municipalities in the neighboring province of Gortynia and have threatened protests if their demand is not satisfied. Earlier this month, the mayor of Elliniko in southern Athens, Christos Kortzidis, went on a hunger strike to protest the changes foreseen by Kallikratis.