Tension in the Greek Parliament during the vote for bill on type C prisons

Tension in the Greek Parliament during the vote for bill on type C prisons

Athens, April 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Despite the fierce US reactions, the Greek Plenary voted the bill of the Ministry of Justice for the abolishment of type C prisons and the converting of the imprisonment of  Savvas Xiros to house arrest, while there was an intense dispute for the attendance in the House.

The parliamentary representative of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, asked from the House speaker to cancel the process and to not proceed with the vote of the bill, since there were few MPs present in the House.

Citing a previous decision of the President of the House, Zoe Konstantopoulou, who last week stopped the discussion due to a lack of quorum, Mitsotakis said:

“The Regulation requires a quorum only when the House takes decisions such as votes, and because at the moment there are 75 members, the process must be stopped”.

It is noteworthy that a week ago the President of the House Zoe Konstantopoulou refused to declare the start of the debate of the bill in Parliament on the ground that in the hall there were fewer than 75 MPs needed for a quorum.

And similarly, in the current planned adoption of the bill on prisons the New Democracy sought to apply the Regulation and argued that the bill cannot be passed as only 56 MPs were present in the House.

“It is obvious that the House cannot decide if there aren’t at least 75 MPs in the House. I imagine that the President, who is in Rome will be greatly annoyed. I ask for the vote to be postponed until such time as a quorum exists”, continued parliamentary spokesman of New Democracy.

With the position of the ND agreed the River, with Haris Theocharis stressing that the regulation cannot be applied as it suits the government and asked for an adjournment.

“Please see were the authoritarian manipulation of the President lead us. The 57 she realised yesterday that was not a quorum are much less today. As a House speaker she needs to decide with the same standards so as to not lead to trivialisation of procedures. This situation cannot continue”, he Giannis Koutsoukos from PASOK said from his part.

The position of the opposition caused inconvenience to both SYRIZA and the Presidency of the House, with the President however Yiannis Balafas trying to justify himself saying that it is a formal vote.

SYRIZA’s parliamentary representative, Olga Gerovasili, accused the ND that it deliberately tries to obstruct the vote of the bill in its entirety.

Then some members of SYRIZA, who were on a committee or in the cafe of Parliament were forced to rush in Parliament, and so the president Yannis Balafas smoothly completed the passage of the bill.

The reactions of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, however, continued:

“What happened today will be a precedent from now on as to how the House will take decisions. Cheap excuses of the president which will pass on the responsibility of undue delay in the backs of the MPs will not be accepted thereafter. The House has rules and traditions. The quorum is established at the discretion of the Presidency. What happened today should be a lesson for the Presidency”, Mitsotakis said.