I am afraid, Greeks’ nerves undergo tiring endurance tests on a daily basis. The recent news story of Parliament Speaker Vyron Polydoras who used the position he kept for two days in order have his daughter hired at his office is the latest cause for journalist to start digging to old Parliament traditions: benefits for former Parliament speakers and prime ministers who keep an army of employees on cost of taxpayers, even though they no longer hold even a seat in the Parliament as simple MP.
Tradition old practices in the Greek Palriament allow MPs and other holders of official posts to hire daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and other family relatives.
In simple Greek: if your father, mother, grandpa or grandma, uncle and aunt is elected to the Greek Parliament to save the country in one or another way, you are entitled to a working place as well. Directly and indirectly you are saved as well – especially in times of high unemployment, recession and economic crisis.
So far, so good. That’s the tradition, that hardly somebody can break.
However with there is another tradition more striking and more annoying. To provide former prime ministers and parliament speakers with offices and employees, even though the Formers do no longer hold an MP seat or have long retired from the active political life. “Until they die”, so to say…
“Former Prime Ministers like K. Mitsotakis (no longer MP), K. Simitis, K. Karamanlis and G. Papandreou enjoy the privilege of offices and employees. A total of 70 people.
Former Parliament speakers: Kaklamanis, Petsalnikos (PASOK), Psarouda-Benaki, Sioufas (Nea Dimocratia), are no longer MPs but offer work places to six people each. Benaki recently hired a niece, Sioufas daughter has a permanent work contract.” (NewsIt.gr)
Why do these former politicians need all these people financially supported by taxpayers’ money? Nobody can say really. “It’s the tradition and the law…”
Anyway, Vyron Polydoras saw no wrong doing and said in a statement, he was allowed to hire six people as former Parliament speaker, but he hired only one. His daughter. Nothing illegal.
“Polydoras condemmed ”critical press reports about the appointment, claiming that they constituted a premeditated attempt to undermine his political influence.
Polydoras was quoted as saying that he had done nothing illegal and that Greek law actually entitled him to appoint six employees while he had appointed only one, albeit his daughter.” (full article ekathimerini)
PS After this statement, Greek taxpayers were relieved that he didn’t make full use of the law and hire five more people.