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Greek Parliament Speaker Questions Validity of Past Bill Voting

Tabling bills under emergency procedures — a practice abused in the last parliamentary period — will not be repeated in this Parliament, nor can the practice of attaching amendments to entirely unrelated bills, Greece ‘s Parliament president Zoi Konstantopoulou told the press.
In her first meeting with parliamentary correspondents since assuming her duties, Konstantopoulou also raised the issue of whether some bills were valid, as they had not collected a majority (151) and as jailed deputies of the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) were not given permission to be present during the voting. “There will obviously be initiatives you will be informed about,” Konstantopoulou said on the issue.
Among other things, she said that a special meeting on Tuesday evening would set up and upgrade the parliamentary committee on German World War II reparations, adding that “it is a historical obligation of this Parliament to bring this mission to its conclusion.”
At the same time, all parameters that contributed to the swelling of the debt will be examined, as will contracts like those related to Siemens and to armaments procurements.
She said she would request of three former prime ministers — Constantine Mitsotakis, Costas Simitis and George Papandreou — to give up their offices in the Parliament’s central building so they may be used for deputies, and she also announced strict measures for unjustified absence by deputies: past five days in total will mean one-fifth of their monthly salary would be garnered, she said.
Changes she announced also included: a proposal asking for the cancellation of bonuses to deputies for committee participation, as that is part of their duties; an upgraded “objective information-providing” of all citizens about proceedings in Greek Palriament through its channel (“Vouli”) and the ERT Open channel (yet to be established); direct broadcasting of all plenum and committee sessions; opening the doors of Parliament to social groups that want to intervene — the younger generation, average citizens and researchers.
Reacting to Konstantopoulou’s comments, main opposition New Democracy said, “For the second time in a few days the president of Parliament tries to turn Golden Dawn (GD) into an arbiter of our political life. Does this view represent the government? Does the government understand where this tactic is leading to?”
Other party sources said that “the whole volume of bills Konstantopoulou insinuated (were not properly voted) had been voted on much before the detention of the GD deputies. Therefore, there was not a single voting where the outcome was affected by these deputies’ absence…. The presence or absence of GD deputies is an issue managed by independent justice.”
The Golden Dawn party itself found itself agreeing with Konstantopoulou, calling it a viewpoint that agrees with the Greek Constitution. In a written statement, the party said, “The Constitution of Greeks foresees the Parliament’s operation with 300 deputies, therefore any memorandum laws and other anti-national legislations were voted without the GD deputies, who are being detained illegally, are invalid and go against the Constitution.”
(source: ana-mpa)

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