Greek Parliament Votes for Bill Abolishing University Asylum



The Plenary of the Greek Parliament. Photo from twitter.com/PrimeministerGR

The Greek Parliament voted in favor of a bill on Thursday which addresses the abolition of university asylum laws.

The proposed legislation, brought up for discussion by the new conservative government, also addresses a series of other issues, including changes to the regional administration of Greece’s local and regional councils.

During his speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that his government wants Greek universities ”to become places of creation, without fear.”

“We do not want police officers in the universities, but we want to kick the hooded individuals out. Those who wear uniforms and the Greek emblem are instruments of democracy and give account to it,” Mitsotakis said, addressing MPs from the main opposition party SYRIZA.

The Prime Minister underscored that ”those who wear hoods in universities are serving dark interests.” He also said that the new bill on university asylum serves to protect education, research, and culture in Greece as well as safeguarding the security of Greek citizens.

“Abolition of the university asylum (law) means a ban on delinquent behavior inside the universities,” Mitsotakis stated.

On his behalf, Greece’s ex-Prime Minister and now the Leader of the Opposition, Alexis Tsipras, accused the conservative government of the New Democracy Party of having ”ideological obsessions.”

“Your ideological obsession is against the Greek public universities and whatever they socially, politically and culturally symbolize for our country,” Tsipras declared before Parliament.

Accusing the new Greek government of having embraced an ”extreme-right ideology,” the former prime minister noted that ”New Democracy’s obsession starts from its inherent aversion to anything that’s public.”

Tsipras charged Mitsotakis’ government with being biased in favor of private universities and everything that they symbolize, at the political and ideological level.

The bill which was passed also included a series of adjustments to assist in the governance of Greece’s new local councils, which were voted in during the local elections of May 26 and June 2.

The government’s intention is to grant additional powers to mayors and local governors, since most of them do not hold working majorities in their local councils, due to the new electoral system, which was used for the first time.

According to this system of proportionate representation, mayors and local governors would have to govern their local communities without additional Councilors being granted to them for coming in first place during the second round of the local elections.

This created a peculiar situation this year, in which mayors must govern their municipalities by controlling as few as 14.9 percent of the Councilors, as has happened in the case of the municipality of Thessaloniki.

Before the vote, all opposition MPs from the SYRIZA, KINAL, KKE, Greek Solution and MeRA25 parties left the plenary, accusing the Minister of Labor of submitting irrelevant amendments to the bill, for which they had no prior information.