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live The parliament is under siege before the vote on the cuts in the public sector

17 July 2013 / 18:07:05  GRReporter
2123 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Over one thousand municipal workers had once again blocked the Greek parliament several hours before the vote on the bill which will regulate the layoffs in the public sector.

School guards, clerks, employees of the department responsible for the cleaning of the city and members of the municipal police from different regions of the country had gathered at Klafthmonos Square from where their procession set off to the parliament. They were dressed in their official uniforms and the school guards were wearing their typical yellow reflective vests.

The protesters were blowing whistles, shouting slogans against the "junta of Samaras" and warning the relevant Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis, "Don’t you dare touch the local administration." Municipal police officers had arrived at Syntagma Square by official motorcycles and cars after them.

The mayors of various regions protested outside the parliament today too. They had gathered shortly before the employees and went before them to Vassilis Sofias Avenue, which was blocked by police buses. A delegation of several local officials set off to the parliament to deliver a manifesto of the positions and demands of the association of Greek municipalities.

The protesters remained at the parliament by midday. It is expected that they will gather again, at 7:00 pm, to take part in the meeting organized by the major unions in Greece, GSEE and ADEDY. The protest will take place during the last debate and the vote on the controversial bill in the parliament and will most probably last until very late.

It is expected that the vote of the deputies on the specific legal text, which is a prerequisite for the payment of the next tranche of economic aid to Greece, will be critical for the future of the coalition cabinet.

Prime Minister's Maximou residence and the headquarters of PASOK are in a state of high alert, and Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos are hoping to pass today the hurdle without incurring losses in their parliamentary groups.

The tension among both the "blue" and the "green" is high since the vote will break the taboo regarding the layoffs in the public sector which has been imposed for decades. A large number of deputies have expressed their dissatisfaction and the Ministry of Finance has had to make some amendments.

The political parties believe that the elected representatives of New Democracy and PASOK will support the law but a large number of the deputies state in private conversations that this will be the last time when they will vote for such severe measures.

The problem is more serious in the ranks of the "blue". Regardless of today's vote, the party leadership is concerned about the growing controversy on various issues among the deputies. Many of them are not hiding their discontent not only at party meetings, but also in their speeches in parliament. Some have even made it clear that, in the future, they will not easily support decisions that conflict with their personal views.

"This is not a government," states Nikitas Kaklamanis, former Minister of Health in Kostas Karamanlis’ cabinet. Andreas Psicharis has directly blamed the cabinet of not carrying out any tax reform.

A very large number of the deputies doubt the assurances by the cabinet that today's vote will impose the last fiscal measures and layoffs, insisting that they will not support other laws which  would worsen the daily lives of the citizens.

To be continued

Tags: SocietyPoliticsLayoffs in the public sectorBillProtestsParliamentTrade unions
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