Violation of the Democratic Rules in the Greek Parliament! Letter from SYRIZA MEP Nikolaos Chountis
very briefly I would like to inform you on the situation in Greece today, mostly concerning the undemocratic conduct of the governmental coalition.
Today it is brought to vote in the plenary, as a unique article, the whole « package » agreed between the greek government and the Troika concerning the measures that have to be taken (budget and social cuts, sell out of public services, including energy, water and land, priority on repaying the debt at all costs etc).
This « unique article », of almost 300 very technical pages, has been given to the Members of the Parliament the day before yesterday and, through a « fast track » procedure, it has been discussed and voted yesterday in the economic committee and today it is put in vote in plenary. Obviously, this procedure violates any democratic notion of really studying and knowing what the MPs are voting for. However, as the governmental coalition claims, if it is not voted in urgency the greek state will be lead immediately to an uncontrolled bankruptcy.
But, in this unique article, it is also included two Amendments (concerning the pension rights of journalists and engineers) that where rejected in the plenary vote of last week. Despite the fact that MPs of the parties in government had also voted them down just five days ago, those two amendments will now be adopted as they are included in the unique article.
During the procedure today, the opposition raised an objection on the grounds of violation of the National Constitutions by various points of the unique article. According to the Rules of Procedure, the MPs voted by raising their hands and, by those present there, the objection was accepted. However, the Chairman (MP of the government party of Nea Dimokratia) doubted the result and called for a roll-call vote, a demand that was accepted by the opposition. But, as it was clear that the presence of governmental MPs in the room was not enough, the Chairman interrupted the whole procedure calling for a 30 minutes break before conducting the ongoing vote. The break, that was made against the will of the opposition and against the Rules of Procedure, lasted far more than 30 minuets and was aimed in order to force all those MPs that were absent to get back in the plenary and, of course, vote against the unconstitutionality of the specific points of the unique article.
The vote has just started a while ago. The plenary is full of the MPs that were not there before…
It is obvious that this coalition government has lost any sense of obligation to follow people’s will and interests a long time ago but, the last days, they have broke even the last limits of appearing to follow the basic democratic rules. And it is so more important if we take into consideration the nature of the measures that they are adopting, measures that not only will aggravate the austerity and the recession but will permit to give away all the public services, all the institutions of common good, the land, the water and the resources of the State taking away any social, labour and environmental rights.
The people of Greece have been in strike and demonstrating since yesterday, continuing today with various actions, including a call of surrounding the Parliament Building today at 17:00.
The situation is very critical and, as the knowledge of the situation is important in order to achieve solidarity, I took the liberty to inform you and to ask you to inform the citizens of your countries and to act in solidarity.
We cannot allow them to violate our rights anymore! We have to continue our struggles together, all around Europe!