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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cabinet approves bill for expatriate vote
  • [02] Deputy Interior Minister signs decision on energy conservation
  • [03] Greek-Australian couple among the bushfire victims in Victoria
  • [04] Papariga on the 18th congress

  • [01] Cabinet approves bill for expatriate vote

    The inner cabinet on Tuesday approved a draft bill executing the Constitution, which allows Greeks abroad to vote in Greek elections from their place of residence, during a session chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Presenting the proposed legislation, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos urged the political parties to cooperate in passing the bill into law.

    "We cannot deprive expatriates of their right to participate in the political life of the country. It is dictated by the Constitution but is also our obligation towards them when we know how much we owe them and how much they can renew the political life of the country through their participation and their ideas," he underlined.

    The minister explained that the government and political parties, in a discussion also initiated via the foreign ministry, had arrived at certain general guidelines that were included in the present draft legislation to be tabled in Parliament.

    This gives the right to vote to Greeks that are permanently resident abroad and those that are stationed abroad, either working for Greek foreign services or as employees of international organisations. These will be included in special electoral rolls to be compiled and regularly updated by Greek consulates.

    Unlike the draft legislation originally proposed by the government, however, they will not be able to vote for candidates standing for election in Greece but for candidates running specifically as representatives of Greeks abroad, who will be included each party's list of state. Every party can name up to three such candidates in its state deputies list, while they must all be permanently resident abroad for at least 10 years.

    According to Pavlopoulos, this avoids problems involving the removal of seats from regions in Greece while ensuring representation of Greeks living outside the country.

    The minister clarified that the proposed bill will be transitional, since this would be the first time that the Greeks abroad would vote in elections. Once it had been tested in practice, the government would then examine the possibility of representation for specific regions abroad and ways in which the Constitutional provision for a postal vote might be implemented in practice.

    He also explained that the votes of expatriates participating in the elections would be added to the total of those voting throughout the country and in this way, their percentage would also be taken into account when calculating the allocation of seats in Parliament to each party.

    By tabling the draft bill in Parliament, the government was fulfilling the pledge it had originally made in 2004 to bring a draft law executing the Constitution and thus give Greeks abroad the chance to vote, Pavlopoulos stressed.

    Pointing out that the first attempt presented in 2006 had been blocked by the opposition parties - since the bill requires a two-thirds majority in order to be passed by Parliament - he stressed that everyone in Parliament must now be held responsible for their actions.

    [02] Deputy Interior Minister signs decision on energy conservation

    Deputy ╔nterior ╠inister Christos Zois on Wednesday signed a decision aimed at energy conservation in the wider public sector, calling on the various Services to submit, detailed reports concerning implementation of the relevant measures to the Directorate for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation, for evaluation.

    The Services are required to immediate designate an officer responsible for energy issues, and to draft and apply an organized action program containing specific actions and their timetables.

    Further, given that the issue of energy yield and conservation is very technical and exceptionally important, the interior ministry services' collaboration with the National Center for Public Administration and Local Government is deemed necessary for organizing informational seminars for the energy officers but also the employees of the services involved.

    According to the decision, the measures concern designation of an energy officer for the services' building or buildings and the actions and measures that have been taken in implementation of the decision.

    It is recalled that the measures for enhancement of energy yield and conservation in the public and wider public sector were recently introduced in a joint ministerial decision of the interior, economy and finance, and development ministries.

    [03] Greek-Australian couple among the bushfire victims in Victoria

    Melbourne (ANA-MPA / S. Hatzimanolis) -- A Greek-Australian couple is among the 181 confirmed victims of the bushfires that have been blazing through the State of Victoria for days. The charred bodies of Tania Tsimikli, 39, and her husband Dimitris, 35, were recovered by police. Apparently they were trapped by the flames while leaving their house in the region of Kinglake, 65km north of Melbourne. The number of Greek-Australians lost in the inferno is likely to rise as 80 people are still unaccounted for. At least 20 fire fronts of unprecedented intensity continued burning out of control on Tuesday for a fifth day, fanned by the strong winds still blowing in the region. Roughly 900 houses have been burned to the ground and over 400,000 hectares of forest and cultivated land have been reduced to ashes.

    [04] Papariga on the 18th congress

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said Wednesday that the preparation process in view of the party's 18th Congress scheduled for Feb. 18-22 was the liveliest and most substantive in recent years. In a press conference, Papariga announced that representatives of 90 communist and labor parties from 72 countries will attend the proceedings, the largest attendance recorded over the past few years. Responding to questions on the global financial crisis and political developments, Papariga stated that the crisis in Greece is more deeply rooted and lingering, adding that the position of the workers will deteriorate further "because no measures are being taken for them". The KKE General Secretary stated that elections will not bring a solution rejecting, however, the argument that early elections amidst the crisis could make the economic situation even worse.

    Caption: Communist party leader Aleka Papariga speaks at a press conference held in Athens on Wednesday 11 February 2009. ANA-MPA/MARIA MAVRONA


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