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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't, PASOK square off over Constitutional revision

  • [01] Gov't, PASOK square off over Constitutional revision

    The government and main opposition PASOK party on Friday bandied cross-accusations over PASOK's decision to back out of supporting a proposed revision of the Constitution. Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros slammed PASOK as "irresponsible" - to which PASOK's Petros Efthymiou replied that "Mr. Antonaros must have been looking at himself in the mirror".

    Antonaros was commenting on PASOK's stated intention not to participate in a vote on reforming certain articles of the Greek Constitution, both in the present and the next Parliament.

    Rejecting Antonaros' criticism, PASOK's spokesman stressed that PASOK's positions on the issue of Constitutional revision were "responsible and crystal clear".

    He counter-accused the government of leading the revision process into a complete deadlock by restricting its margins and not accepting any of PASOK's proposals.

    Efthymiou also accused the ruling party of trying to impose its positions with "unprecedented Parliamentary putsches" - a reference to an incident a week ago when an ND proposal for Constitutional article 24 was nearly passed at committee without the required majority by improperly counting an MP that was not actually on the Committee. The MP later claimed he had coincidentally raised his hand to signal someone at the time when the vote took place.

    The irregularity was picked up by opposition MPs on the spot and was one of the main arguments used by PASOK to justify last week's motion of no confidence in the government and its withdrawal from the vote on Constitutional reform that PASOK leader George Papandreou had earlier backed. PASOK has already participated in debates and voting on the proposed revisions at the Committee stage.

    According to Efthymiou, PASOK's proposal for early elections simultaneously suspends the process of revising the Constitution and the parties will go to the elections faced with a dilemma over which political force - and in what direction - will adopt Constitutional principles that are in favour of society and the citizens.

    He said that ND "was obliged to accept PASOK's position on this issue".

    Responding to Efthymiou, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said "that which is manifested and proved today by the PASOK spokesman's statements, is acceptance of defeat in the next general elections, because if they believed that they would win, then they would be able in the next Parliament to shape the content of the under review provisions of the Constitution as a majority."

    Parliament president seeks PASOK MPs signature on withdrawal from Constitution revision

    In an exchange of letters with PASOK Parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas on Thursday, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki asked for a statement that PASOK is not participating in the remainder of the process for revising the Constitution, signed by all the party's MPs.

    Otherwise, she warned, the proposals made by PASOK MPs will be included in the Revision Committee's report to the full Parliament.

    In his reply, Reppas stressed that PASOK will not participate in the revision process in any way after the events in Parliament and that the party trumpeted its objections to such moves.

    PASOK's position is that, in order for a revision of the Constitution to take place, an initiative must be begun from scratch by the next Parliament.

    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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