Eleven days before the elections, which apparently will not form an independent cabinet, another dispute has broken between the present ministers from both major parties. The reason for it is the establishment of the reception centre for illegal immigrants in Amigdaleza and it, shortly before the campaign to capture the immigrants, crowded in small rooms in the centre of Athens.
The dispute began with the statement of Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Makis Voridis, who expressed his disagreement with the use of containers to shelter the first one thousand immigrants. He said they do not fall within the competences of the Ministry of Citizen Protection but of his Ministry and have been produced in case of need during an earthquake.
The Minister who moved from LAOS to New Democracy a month ago said that his deputy from PASOK Yiannis Magriotis was aware of the matter and gave up the use of containers against the amount of 6 million euro in a letter to the Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis.
Makis Voridis accused his colleagues in Cabinet and the secretary of his office of organizing an "intrigue behind his back" with an electoral purpose. He said he is determined not only to ban the use of containers, but intends to move them. Then, he added that the amount for their transportation, which is 173 thousand euro, has been already approved.
The Minister said that he could not allow the containers to be used for this purpose, "because if there is an earthquake, God forbid, what will happen to those affected by it?" By the end of the day, he is expected to send a letter to the Minister of Citizen Protection and to inform Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
Makis Voridis explained that New Democracy agrees with the basic legal framework for the operation of reception centres for illegal immigrants but stressed that the choice of places where they will be built and the entire procedure should be the task of the next government.
Meanwhile, a large campaign to empty the buildings of immigrants, living in conditions dangerous to public health, has started in the centre of Athens. In parallel, a new, more stringent law has been enforced, which provides for a criminal persecution of the owners of these buildings.
From today, citizens can call the police and identify areas where a large number of immigrants are living. A special team will handle the information and then, joint actions involving police and members of the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention will be organized.
According to Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, immigrants would undergo medical examinations. Ill immigrants will be treated and the illegal ones will be transported the detention centres. Special units from the Ministry of Health will disinfect the emptied buildings.
The clash between the two major parties, however, continues at the highest possible level, as PASOK is still attacking New Democracy in relation with the televised debate between the leaders. Today, Evangelos Venizelos made a personal attack against Antonis Samaras. "The whole story reminds me of the Bridge of Arta (according to the legend, they were building it all day long, and in the night it would collapse – author’s note). Mr. Samaras does not insist on a televised debate. While I was Minister of Finance, he was avoiding the direct parliamentary dialogue too. This means that he is hostile to the televised debate or does not have the security needed to protect his positions and his insistence on his own government, which stems from his party selfishness. "
At the same time, hits below the belt are going on. Eleuteros Tipos Newspaper, which is close to New Democracy, published a photo of a "document", which according to the publication, proves that the journalist Vassilis Hitos -a candidate from Independent Greeks, received 30 thousand euro from the National Information Service. After stormy debates and discussions on television, the head of the Service issued a release declaring that the "note" is fake and said he will take all measures provided by law.