Controversial bill says demonstrators who impede auctions of seized properties face a jail sentence

Syriza MPs up in arms over bill imposing jail sentence for blocking auctions

Syriza MPs up in arms over bill imposing jail sentence for blocking auctions


About two dozen Syriza MPs who met to discuss Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis’ bill to penalise protests at auctions of foreclosed properties were up in arms, as they viewed the measure as superfluous and utterly damaging to the last shreds of the party’s leftist profile.

The proposed legislation, which was tabled after an understanding with Greece’s creditors that property auctions must proceed unhindered, provides that demonstrators who impede auctions of seized properties face a jail sentence.

The brainstorming came after the Greek Communist Party (KKE) exercised its right to request a roll call vote, putting all MPs who support the measure on the spot in their electoral districts.

All ministers whose portfolios touch upon the issue attended the meeting, including Kontonis, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, and Public Order Minister Nikos Toskas.

Tsakalotos said that scrapping the measure would “create a problem with lenders”. When asked if the government could fall if the measure were not passed, he ominously refused to answer his Syriza colleagues, in an apparent effort to create a chill.

A number of MPs argued that such a law will serve to strengthen the anti-auction movement, which appears to have strengthened since the Syriza splinter parties that were created after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ignored the “no” vote on the 2015 bailout package.

The latest poll shows that former Syriza minister Panagiotis Lafazanis’ pro-drachma Popular Unity party, which is leading the anti-auction charge, now has enough support to enter parliament.

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