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Greek parliament to vote on corruption scandal

Greek parliament to vote on corruption scandal

Greek lawmakers will decide Monday night whether to indict a governing party legislator on corruption charges, and a close vote was expected, given the government's narrow majority in Parliament.
The decision will come after a three-week investigation by a parliamentary committee failed to decide whether lawmaker Aristotelis Pavlides, a former Minister for the Aegean, should be charged with encouraging a close aide to demand bribes from a ship owner in exchange for a lucrative contract to serve far-flung Aegean Sea islands.
The governing New Democracy party, which controls 151 of parliament's 300 seats, has said there is no evidence to support Pavlides' indictment. He has denied any wrongdoing and refused to help out his party by resigning his seat.
But the vote _ which would only require a simple majority to indict the legislator _ comes at a difficult time for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' conservative government, which has been struggling to reduce the impact of the global financial crisis on Greece's economy.
It also has faced problems with other corruption cases. Last year the conservatives were rocked by revelations of a land-swap deal between an Orthodox monastery and the state, which was allegedly heavily weighted in favor of the monks. The scandal led to the resignation of two government ministers. Earlier in 2008, the New Democracy's labor minister resigned after it emerged he had employed uninsured immigrants and had an improper permit for his holiday home. His predecessor had lost his job in 2007 over a bond-trading scandal.
A poll published Monday gave the opposition Socialists a 2.2 percent lead over New Democracy for June's European parliamentary elections. In the poll in the Ta Nea newspaper, 79 percent of the respondents also said Pavlides should be tried.
If the lawmakers vote to indict Pavlides, he would not be forced to resign from Parliament during his trial, but Karamanlis would come under intense pressure to dismiss him from the party. If that is done, Pavlides would continue as an independent lawmaker, leaving the conservatives with 150 seats.
Under Greek law, only parliament can indict former or serving cabinet ministers.


Updated : 2021-08-03 12:52 GMT+08:00