Greece has wasted a splendid opportunity to introduce austerity and reforms into the Greek parliament during the six weeks a caretaker government presided without wages. Corrupt politicians feed at the trough of plenty as Greece sinks deeper into debt.
Even those who cast their votes for New Democracy and PASOK must despair at the profligacy of the three hundred Members of Parliament who represent approximately 11 million people in Greece. Compare this with 650 MP's in the House of Commons to represent over 62 million people. Under a law proposed by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, Greek MP's enjoy immunity from prosecution.
Digital Journal reported on the salaries and perks of Greek politicians last year, citing an MP's salary as €8594 per month, €1000 per month housing allowance, an additional €150 per MP per parliamentary committee meeting, pensions after a four year tenure, interest free loans, and a host of other perks that include subsidised haircuts and a parliamentary gym.
As part of their electioneering campaigns various parties proposed changes which would reduce the number of Greek MP's and cut their inflated salaries and perks.
Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left proposed a "reduction in MPs’ wages and end to pensions for parliamentarians" and "a law allowing the assets of government members and senior civil servants who have served since 1974 to be inspected, scrapping ministerial and parliamentary immunity."
SYRIZA's Alexis Tsipras also wanted to scrap parliamentary immunity and slash MP's salaries. Golden Dawn also favored slashing salaries of MP's.
Following their brief election to parliament in May Golden Dawn entered parliament for the first time. Dimitris Koukoutsis, Golden Dawn MP for Messinia, told Golden Dawn members and supporters that party members were shocked at the luxury available to MPs within the vouli, including the subsidized fine dining of all MPs can eat for €8 (in stark contrast to the soup kitchens available on nearby streets). Koukoutsis observed a sign of the unproductive bloated public sector, noting 15 parking attendants on standby, but doing nothing, to deal with MPs cars.
Greek politicians about to form a new coalition should heed the support given to proposals to curb their expenses, slash their wages and strip them of their parliamentary immunity. Politicians that will now sit in opposition should stick to their demands for a parliamentary culling of privilege, before they too get used to the trappings of power which the two party system has thus far availed itself of.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com