Without explanation, the Greek Parliament has suspended operations for two weeks, prompting an outcry from the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that the government was trying to duck hearings on tough questions it wanted to pose.
Parliament officials said no work will be undertaken until a Recess Section, giving workers another two-week vacation on top of many other days it has off, to go along with four month bonuses.
The move came just after MPs voted to lift the immunity of Golden Dawn neo-Nazi leader Nikos Michaoliakos on charges related to those of running a criminal gang, for which he has been in detention for more than seven months.
Greek media said only that since there were no major pending actions or bills that it wasn’t necessary for the Parliament to be open.
SYRIZA objected, with its spokesman, Panayiotis Lafazanis, noting that the body is supposed to be closed only for elections and not for political maneuvering. There was no response from the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, nor his coalition partner the PASOK Socialists.
Lafazanis further argued that this was a unilateral move by the government to delay several agenda discussions requested by SYRIZA, and court cases pending in the House Ethics Committee.
SYRIZA intended to table a motion of censure against the government immediately after the debate on lifting the immunity of Golden Dawn members.
On May 8 2009, just one month before the European elections, the Greek Prime Minister at the time, Kostas Karamanlis, made the decision to close the Greek Parliament abruptly after he was informed that PASOK was planning to submit a proposal for setting up a Committee of Inquiry, regarding the scandal of structured bonds.