It was shortly after 5 in the afternoon and a fully troubled plenary session, when police hanged a Presidential Decree announcing the unexpected closure of the Greek Parliament and the start of the summer sessions. The government decision to close the Parliament as expressed by the Presidential Decree took Greek journalists by surprise. Nobody knew to report about the reasons of closing the Parliament almost a month before the traditional summer break. Greek reporters knew nothing to report and still do not know, as there has been no official explanation announcement neither by the Parliament speaker nor by the Prime Minister’s office, nor by the government and – of course – nor by the President.
Main opposition party left-wing SYRIZA spoke of an arbitrary and “unilateral decision”, while some (journalist Kouloglou in Skai TV) even stressed “the violation of Parliament procedures.”
Lawmakers of Nea Dimokratia leaked to the press the argument that the Parliament was closed as there were “no statute or other parliamentary proceedings pending.”
However , the reality is different.
- debate concerning the Baltakos case. Takis Baltakos (Nea Dimokratia), secretary of the government, was captured on camera to have secret contacts and friendly chat with Golden Dawn spokesman Kasidiaris.
- Kasidiaris was scheduled to appear before the Ethics committee of the Parliament tomorrow Thursday.
- Also for tomorrow, Thursday, the cases of Nea Dimokratia Ministers Yiannis Michelakis (Interior) and Adonis Georgiadis (Health) as well of Vasilis Kaparnaros (ex Independent Greeks, now Independent MP) were scheduled to be discussed. Now all these cases will be discussed next autumn, when the Parliament will return to its plenary sessions.
Traditionally, the Greek Parliament goes into summer break end of June and resumes the full sessions in October.
So what had happened today? Why was the Parliament enforced to interrupt its normal sessions and went into summer break?
During the summer break, the Parliament works with less lawmakers – so-called “Parliament’s summer sessions” -, the lawmakers receive extra bonuses for working during the summer months and the government can pass legislation with much fewer votes than in “winter sessions” where the 151 majority is needed. In the wake of upcoming crucial bills, the parties – and in our Greek case “the coalition government parties” – can better deal with their lawmakers and have them under control.
The summer sessions of the Parliament will have to deal with important legislation like
- the privatization of the so-called “small DEH” (Greek Public Power Company)
- the regulation of Greek coastline that has triggered a huge outrage among the society and environmental organizations
- cuts in the supplementary pensions
- taxes in favor of ‘third parties’ (insurance funds of professional groups)
Other scenarios claim that the Parliament was closed
- as the “ministers refrain from coming to the Parliament and answer lawmakers’ questions due to upcoming government reshuffle”
- that the government reshuffle would be smoother as the Parliament will be closed and the disappointed lawmakers will not create troubles during voting.
- in order to hinder SYRIZA to request anew a vote of confidence
According to a fourth unofficial explanation, reason for the closure were the ugly scenes during the defense of Golden Dawn MPs in custody -leader Michaloliakos and MPs Pappas, Lagos – before the voting to lift their immunity and open the way for their trial.
Tension was high on Wednesday, with the GD MPs in custody to use vulgar expressions against the lawmakers of other parties, with Michaloliakos to shout to acting Parliament Speaker “You, shut up” and make claims that shocked Samaras’ Nea Dimokratia and a crowd of 30 GD relatives and supporters to try to enter the Plenary session.
Video: Golden Dawn protest inside the Parliament.embedded by Embedded Video
A Parliament out of control. The “draconian security measures” had apparently let the dragon inside.
Now wonder that all these was too much for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and he decided to avoid further tension and ugly scenes, more claims from Golden Dawn MPs, frustrated Nea Dimokratia and PASOK MPs who did not mutate into ministers and potential rebels during voting of legislation that is important for Greece’s lenders, the Troika.
PS That’s how countries are saved, folks! By closing down the parliaments and send the majority of people’s representatives home – or at the beach. Although it still rains in Athens and summer seems quite far away.
. Official announcement for the early closure of the House not exist, but according to information is the tension caused within the coalition for reforming and the intention to pass all the relevant legislation by the summer courses to avoid any unpleasant surprises .
Contrast SYRIZA the potential to interrupt Wednesday ‘s work session of the House expressed the parliamentary representative of the main opposition party , Panagiotis Lafazanis the Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis .
” If the government wants to close the House , do it only for elections ,” said Panagiotis Lafazanis . He talked for a unilateral move by the government , noting that referred to the autumn pre agenda discussions requested by SYRIZA , but also lawsuits pending in the House Ethics Committee .
The work session of Parliament ended with the decision to waive the immunity of MPs custody of the Golden Dawn Nikos Michaloliakos , Christos Pappas and John Hare .
At the same time , heavy shadows have fallen over the geography of the Prime Minister after the statements Michaloliakos for frequent contact with both C. Mourouti and two ministers not katanomase . For his part , the close associate of Samaras says in a statement :
” Mr. Michaloliakos I have not ever met in my life . Nor any other officer or Member of ASE I have encountered , private or random , ever in my life . This is the greatest misery I’ve heard .