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Unexpected combination of municipalities

29 April 2010 / 13:04:27  GRReporter
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With the reduction in the number of municipalities in Greece from 1034 to 343, it is expected that around €1.8 billion annually will be saved for the state treasury. Public administration reform according to the "Kalikratis” plan provides for the establishment of a five-year term for mayors, and from June 2014 local elections will start taking place at the same time as the Euroelections. The bill for the public administration reform was presented by Interior Minister Yannis Rangousis at the Council of Ministers yesterday and next week it will be out for discussion in parliament. 

According to Mr. Rangousis holding local elections alongside with the Euroelections as provided for in the bill, will not only reduce running costs, but costs for the parties' election campaigns. Minister Rangousis said he is open to suggestions for improving the bill, which are within the already stated objectives and principles. 

According to the bill every island will now be one municipality, except for the islands of Crete and Euboea. And if so far as the island of Lesbos had 15 municipalities under the new law, they will merge into one, which he will put the island at number 18 among the largest municipalities in Greece. Accordingly, Rhodes will take ninth place and Corfu - 13th, which according to Mr. Rangousis makes the municipalities of the islands a kind of "cantons" or greater self-administrative units with larger responsibilities. 

Under the "Kalikratis" plan the huge numbers of administrative staff will be reduced - local councilors and presidents of community organizations, who are now 50,000 and will become 25,000. The bill puts an end to the recruitment on party principle, which was widely practiced. Henceforth, employment in public administration will be done only by the Supreme Council for the selection of cadres, which announces competitions for vacancies via the internet and procedures are fully transparent. 

The basic principle that statesmen follow in the merger of municipalities is the number of population, which was calculated during the last Census in 2001. For Athens and Thessaloniki one municipality should consist of at least 25,000 people and in the province one municipality should consist of at least 10,000 people. In order for a municipality to retain its autonomy it must have over 12,000 inhabitants.

Tags: Greece politics restructuring of municipalities
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