FinMin official appointed as Parliament Budget Office head; opposition criticism

Monday, 05 March 2018 20:48

A top government official, Frangiskos Kountetakis, on Monday was appointed as the new head of Parliament's independent Budget Office, after a majority vote by committee members elected from the two current coalition partners, leftist SYRIZA and the small right-wing Independent Greeks (AN.EL).

Seven out of the 13 members of the committee voted in favor of Kountetakis; two against (main opposition New Democracy's representatives), three members declared "present" and one member abstained.

The up-until-recently finance ministry general director for fiscal policy takes over from Panagiotis Liargovas, whose tenure was not renewed late last year by the Parliament president, SYRIZA MP Nikos Voutsis.

The official reports released by the Budget Office over the past few years had often clashed with positions and predictions put forth by the leftist-rightist coalition government, leading to thinly veiled friction between the former and Liargovas.

Prior to the vote, a ND spokeswoman charged that the current poll-trailing coalition government is attempting "conquer" the state and undermine the "next ND government". She also accused the previously anti-bailout and anti-austerity Tsipras government of "tailor-made" employment tenders for to ministry positions (general secretaries), whose tenure runs for four years.

In January 2017,  in an interview with "N", the now former finance ministry official had deflected wide-spread criticism in the country over a "tax tsunami" imposed in 2016 in order to meet bailout program targets.

"There is no concern of an over-taxation 'fatigue' on the part of taxpayers. The government's choice to depend on an increase of revenues, and not spending cuts, has been vindicated," he opined at the time.


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