Politics: Government Omnibus bill ratified in principle

Δημοσίευση 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 10:44 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Politics: Government Omnibus bill ratified in principle
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The government's omnibus bill on the implementation of urgent measures for the Greek economy's support programme was ratified in principle with 156 votes in favour and 130 against, on Tuesday night.

The government's omnibus bill on the implementation of urgent measures for the Greek economy's support programme was ratified in principle with 156 votes in favour and 130 against, on Tuesday night.

The bill was ratified following a rollcall vote called for by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Popular Orthodox Rally party (LAOS).

FinMin, Employment defend omnibus bill

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during the debate on the omnibus bill, said that "the government is obtaining its legalising basis from the vote of the latest (local government)elections and the vote of confidence of its deputies and will be judged for what it enacts on the basis of what it received and what it delivers in the next elections."

Replying to criticism by the opposition, he stressed that the government is judged on the basis of what it does or tries to do, not on the basis of the political cost on each occasion, but public interest.

The finance minister admitted that an increase in VAT is coming from 11 to 13 percent, something that was achieved following negotiations so that it would not reach 23 percent, while it was reduced for medicines and tourist accommodation from 11 to 6.5 percent.

As regards public utilities and the changes being brought about, the minister said that "it was not possible for us to hide our heads in the sand again, when we have to face average salaries that offend the rest of the working people."

Her added that "it is a move of justice whih is trying to reduce the deficit of these businesses by 1.5 billion, when we have five loss-making public utilities in which salaries exceed revenues."

Employment Minister Louka Katseli said on her part that "our legalising basis is one alone: For the country not to go bankrupt, for us to be able to borrow 110 billion from the IMF and the European taxpayers over the next three years, for us to be able to pay pensions, salaries and for us to provide public services."

Katseli reiterated that the flexibility being brought into the labour market "exists in many other European countries," while the business contracts under the corresponding sector ones as well "strengthen the collective negotiations weakening the individual ones that are prevailing in the market today, where the working man is the weakest. We are coming to reverse this status, securing in parallel a minimum safety net, that of the sector contractr, and the collective labour contract."

Opposition parties on omnibus bill

Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during the debate on the omnibus bill on labour issues, stressed that "in essence the war is starting now and working people will be realising all the more that the struggle that has on its flag how much the working people will lose has no meaning," adding that there can be no objective solution to the problems of the working class without a solution to the "problem of power."

Papariga accused the government of "slandering working people and of enacting knowingly that the memorandum will lead to an increase of the debt and of deficits."

Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis made proposals on a different policy for the recovery of the Greek economy, accusing the government at the same time of "inability to handle the problems it is facing."

"I call on you to change policy and if you cannot, get up and leave. Because you are leading the country from decline to decline, it is a mistake, it is death, it is the country's memorial service," Karatzaferis said.

Also speaking during the debate, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras termed the omnibus bill a "bill of labour, national and social humiliation" and warned the deputies of the ruling PASOK party "that whoever believes that he can pull his tail out is mistaken."

Tsipras criticised the government and its ministers present, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and Employment Minister Louka Katseli, saying that they comprise a "government of surrendered that is carrying out without second thoughts and openly whatever is requested of them by the technocrats of the Troika."

Deputy Evangelos Papachristos expelled from PASOK's Parliamentary Group

Ruling PASOK Preveza deputy Evangelos Papachristos was expelled from the party's Parliamentary Group, following his decision to vote against in principle the omnibus bill on the urgent measures for the implementation of the Greek economy's support programme.

Shortly after the conclusion of the rollcall vote, Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos read a letter by Prime Minister and PASOK president George Papandreou which said that: "Deputy Evangelos Papachristos is expelled from PASOK's Parliamentary Group."

PASOK MP on debate

Ruling PASOK MP Odysseas Voudouris on Monday informed the Parliament president that he will abstain from the debate by the legislature' plenum on the urgently tabled omnibus draft bill regarding cuts in the wider public sector.

Moreover, Voudouris, who is elected from Messinia prefecture in extreme SW Greece, cited his opposition to the urgent procedure following for tabling and debating the closely watched bill.