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The partners in the government have secured state funding, small parties are protesting

09 April 2012 / 21:04:38  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova 


PASOK and New Democracy managed to pass the amendment for public financing of political parties with great difficulty and lost a total of 46 votes. Of the 214 deputies voting, 165 voted "for," 56 - "against" and three abstained.

There were hot debates in parliament before the vote. According to the legal text, political parties will be entitled to state funding amounting to 28.9 million euro before the election. Deputies said that it is not possible for the parliamentary majority to determine alone that its obligations cannot be claimed.

The deputies of the left coalition SYRIZA, the far-right LAOS and independent deputies involved in the new political formations Independent Greeks, Democratic Left and Democratic Alliance voted against the adoption of the amendment. The parliamentary group of the Communist Party abstained, being seriously attacked for this.

Among the 46 lawmakers from the two ruling parties, who chose not to attend the vote, were the present and former New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and Costas Karamanlis, and some of the PASOK ministers in the cabinet of Lucas Papademos.

Members of the new party lead by former economy minister and then minister of employment in the government of George Papandreou, Louka Katseli, voted against the amendment too. At the first conference of the Social Alliance, she said, "in this difficult moment for the country, parties should take a responsible position, and funds should be used rationally. We urged major parties to give up state funding and to present their political positions with less money."

Louka Katseli accused PASOK and New Democracy of taking Greece into a deep recession, suspension of payments and judicial affairs, when the creditors will want to be paid the money they have lent.

"Coalition government plus memorandum equals chaos," she said and urged Greek voters to get away from this "phobia" as quickly as possible. The former minister said she declares herself in support of renegotiating the terms of redistribution of government debt, maintaining the standard of living and the consumer capabilities of the Greeks. "The debt can be paid only by rising incomes, rather than by making the citizens poor," she said.

The deputy from the parliamentary group of Social Alliance Andreas Triandafilopoulos proposed a law establishing a permanent structure for the provision of social goods and services to needy groups. The proposal concerns the unemployed and people with annual income less than or equal to 8,402 euro, i.e. those receiving the recently voted minimum wage. Their economic status will be taken into account too.

The proposed bill provides for the poor to enjoy 50 per cent cheaper tickets for public transport in Athens, Thessaloniki and the countryside and to pay for water and electricity at a price 70 per cent lower than the original. It also provides for a 50 per cent reduction of tolls when travelling on highways.

According to the deputy, that social policy will not burden the state budget with a single euro and it will be financed with state and European Union funds.
During the press conference, the member of the steering committee of the Social Alliance Nikitas Kanakis, who is the chairman of the NGO "Doctors of the World," was presented. In his brief presentation, he stressed that the number of uninsured Greeks who visited the clinics of the organization to be treated free of charge has increased five times. "There are more people who supported us in our campaigns abroad until last year and now, they are the ones who need help." He also said that Greek society needs more solidarity and a political proposal to emerge from the current difficult situation.

Two weeks ago, Social Alliance submitted another proposal for a law on the subject of cutting citizens’ obligations to the banks. The firm response by the financial institutions and the Minister of Finance Filippos Sachinidis was that such action is not possible.

At the same time, the party has not announced its positions on issues monopolizing public interest, such as the strike of port workers and the establishment of detention centres for illegal immigrants.

Tags: PoliticsState fundingVoteSocial AllianceProposed billSocial policy
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