ATHENS – As the Parliament approved returning some 820 million euros ($931.39 million) in salaries and pensions to 280,000 civil servants to comply with a court order, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition claimed it was responsible for the largesse.
The country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State ruled the money had to be returned by SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) said they were the benefactors, said Kathimerini, as they try to revive themselves from a free-fall in polls after repeatedly reneging on anti-austerity promises.
Despite complaints from rival parties, with the major opposition New Democracy saying the repayment was too little too late, the measure was passed with the support of all except the ultra-extreme Golden Dawn.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has fallen far behind New Democracy in surveys with elections required to be held, is looking to also stop coming pension cuts he agreed to implement starting Jan. 1, hand out benefits and said he would hire 10,000 new workers if a deal with the Greek Church to take priest off the government payroll – but pay their salaries through backdoor subsidies.
New Democracy and critics said it’s all part of what they called transparent attempts by Tsipras to buy votes without mentioning it’s what every winning party has done for decades to get into power and stay there, creating a crisis that led to Greece seeking what turned into three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($370.3 billion) that will take decades to repay.