http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322717

Op-Ed: Greek parliament votes to give €29 million to political parties

Posted Apr 10, 2012 by Katerina Nikolas
As Greek taxpayers struggle against the increasing burden of austerity and soaring prices they now have a new bill to finance. Taxpayers will be handing over €29 million to fund political parties in the run up to the May election.
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In a move which demonstrates how completely out of touch Greek politicians are with the electorate, Parliament has voted to add to the coffers of the main political parties. The vote was carried by a majority of 155-56, but Ekathimerini reported that of the 300 M.P.'s, 86 were absent and did not add their vote.
The victory for politicians means PASOK, New Democracy, the Communist Party (KKE), Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) will each receive money from taxpayers. Although LAOS and SYRIZA will benefit from the windfall, both parties voted against it.
PASOK, under the new leadership of former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will benefit the most from the taxpayers largess. Venizelos said this weekend he could not rule out the need for yet more austerity, but obviously politicians are excluded from such measures.
Some M.P.s are of the opinion that the boost to party coffers should be used to pay unpaid bills, as the political parties have proved to be as incompetent in handling their own party finances as they are in handling those of the Greek nation. According to Greek Reporter Greece's political parties owe €250 million to banks
Other M.P.s spoke openly against the move. Athens News reported Haris Kastanidis, spokesman for the splinter Social Pact party, said "It is inconceivable to hand out campaign money to political parties in the middle of this harsh financial crisis. We propose that this money be used as financial support to groups of people who are the hardest hit."
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