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House reconvenes to assess laws sent back by President

The previous House of Representatives in session

The house of representatives will hold an extraordinary plenary session early on Thursday, just ten days before the parliamentary elections, to discuss six laws sent back by President Nicos Anastasiades.

The session, expected to start at 10am, is taking place even though parliament officially dissolved on April 23.

Should parliament accept the president’s reasons, the laws will need to be amended or scrapped. If MPs do not make the suggested changes, the president has the option to sign them anyway, or refer them to the Supreme Court to rule on their constitutionality.

The first, a law on the early retirement for those who are not on the labour market and permanently unable to work, was sent back as unconstitutional as it entails increased expenditure.

A law which would no longer require someone with irreversible disability to be reassessed at a later stage was sent back as unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers.

The third law, which would include those working as freelancers in the category of salaried employees for social insurance purposes was deemed to violate labour laws and EU laws on public procurement and would increase government expenditure as it would convert all those offering a service to the government into salaried employees.

The president also sent back a new law that would allow someone aged 63 to 65 to qualify for sick leave as this would increase social security expenditure and undermine safety clauses protecting the viability of the social security fund.

The fifth law, offering people entitled to take early retirement at 63, the right to claim unemployment benefits, was sent back for the same reasons.

Finally, the president sent back a law introducing the requirement of having very good knowledge of Greek for positions in scales of A8 and above as violating the separation of powers and for amending professional requirements, a responsibility which rests with cabinet.

The six laws must be reviewed by the relevant House committees before being submitted to the plenary.

The first meeting of the new parliament set on June 10.

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