Coalition parties New Democracy and Pasok, which combined owe over €270m to the country’s banks, on Wednesday successfully tabled an amendment that will ringfence 40% of state funding to political parties from seizure.
In a last-minute intervention, the heavily indebted parties introduced the amendment to a draft bill on political funding on the grounds that it was to safeguard the “minimum guaranteed revenue for and the sustainability of parties”.
The opposition voted against the amendment, arguing that it was specifically tailored to serve the needs of the heavily indebted coalition parties. However, none of the opposition parties called for a roll-call vote on the amendment.
In recent years, Pasok’s and New Democracy’s debts have left both parties struggling to pay their employees’ wages and social insurance, rent and other bills. Given its plummeting political fortunes in recent years, Pasok by far faces the greatest problems as its state financing has decreased accordingly.
The move by the ruling parties to protect a significant portion of state funding from possible seizure is being widely viewed within the context of the strong possibility of snap elections between now and spring.