There is an uproar in the opposition and charges of party patronage over the government’s decision to appoint Fragiskos Koutentakis, until now the general director of fiscal policy at the finance ministry, as the new director of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Upon the recommendation of Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis, Koutentakis will replace Panagiotsi Liargovas, whose term ended last November.

“I chose him because he is young, and has a point of view, with which I agree,” Voutsis said in response to opposition criticism, adding that one does not look to fill such posts with neutral or apolitical figures.

Even before the meeting of the Parliamentary Charter Committee, which approved the appointment, the environment was explosive in parliament.

New Democracy lambasted the appointment as a “conquest of the state” and yet another partisan appointment by ruling Syriza.

The representative of the centre-left Democratic Alliance, Theodoros Papatheodorou, stormed out of the vote, complaining that the CVs of other candidates had not been distributed to the committee, and that the government had decided to appoint a party cadre.

Who needs CVs?

Voutsis said that the parliamentary charter does not require that the CVs of candidates for posts in parliament be made public. Instead, it says that it is under the discretion of the parliament speaker to nominate a candidate and put the name to a vote.

Voutsis rejected opposition charges of a partisan appointment and said that New Democracy when it was in power picked whomever they wanted, with no institutional limitations.

The appointment was approved by the ruling Syriza-Independent Greeks majority on the committee.

New Democracy and Golden Dawn voted down Koutentakis, while MPs for To Potami, the KKE Greek Communist Party and the Centrists’s Union simply said “present” during the rollcall vote.
Anna Karavokyri