Public uproar after Greek politician hires daughter

Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 01:00

A ‘GREEK politician who stirred anger by hiring his daughter in parliament on the one day he was house speaker faced public calls for his resignation yesterday amid widespread disenchantment with the ruling class.

Weathering its fifth year of recession and battling to remain inside the euro, many people in Greece blame the mainstream political parties that have ruled the country for almost four decades for cronyism in the bloated public sector.

Against such a backdrop, the case of Conservative New Democracy MP Byron Polydoras has struck a nerve. He was appointed parliament speaker for just one day after an inconclusive general election on May 6th, in a temporary cabinet whose only purpose was to call a repeat vote for June 17th.

Mr Polydoras used his brief spell as speaker to make his daughter a permanent employee in his office, according to official documents.

Like other civil servants, that meant she could not be fired under the constitution.

Local media slammed the move as “immoral” and a Facebook page titled “Polydoras’s resignation now” yesterday had more than 2,200 fans.

“That’s what he needs to do [resign] after the ridiculous appointment of his daughter when thousands of kids are without work and without a future,” one visitor posted on the site.

The public backlash came as new data showed Greece’s jobless rate climbed to a new record in May, with nearly 55 per cent of those aged 15 to 24 out of work.

Mr Polydoras rushed to defend himself saying he had every right to give his daughter the job.

“I filled the position of just one employee – instead of six – by appointing my daughter who is a close, valuable colleague,” Mr Polydoras was quoted as saying by the Eleftheros Typos newspaper.

Meanwhile, Greece sacked the head of its state nickel producer Larco yesterday for refusing to reduce workers’ pay, the first state company chief to lose his job in the fight to cut costs and stay hooked up to an international bailout.

The finance ministry said in a statement that the president and chief executive of Larco, Anastasios Barakos, was asked to resign for flouting the law.

“He did not apply legislation requiring a reduction of salaries across the wider public sector,” the ministry said.

Officials said all state corporations were told in 2011 to reduce pay by 35 per cent over two years, with 25 per cent in the first year.

Mr Barakos was not available for comment. – (Reuters)