Thursday, 24 October 2013

Legislation by Footnote

It appears that the substance of the Samaras government's intentions is often in the footnotes. The communist party on Wednesday took strong objection to a rider on a public order bill, which criminalises violations of sanctions by international bodies on third countries.

The six month jail sentence it instates might be somewhat understandable if, say, a tanker owner attempts to supply Iran with refined fuel. But the KKE and other opposition parties are worried that the law might one day be used to penalise political expression. "This article could be interpreted to mean that those who demonstrated against the war in Yugoslavia should be jailed for six months," said KKE MP Thanasis Pafilis.

Last Tuesday, the suspension of public funding to parties whose leaders have serious indictments hanging over them was added to a bill about renewable energy. That clause was elected by almost four fifths of parliament. But other, far less popular clauses, were also added. One renders the refusal to be included in a payroll census a "serious disciplinary misdemeanour" for administrative staff in higher education. The government is currently in the process of recording the administrative staff of universities and polytechnics, with a view to dismissing 1,249 of them. This amendment reinforces suspicions that those who refuse to be counted will be the first to go. 

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