Greek mayors protest against local government reform bill

08:46, May 27, 2010      

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Greek protesters hold up Greek flags and banners during a rally in front of the parliament in Athens, capital of Greece, on May 26, 2010. Hundreds of citizens from all over Greece gathered to denounce a local government reform draft bill the Greek government promotes to strengthen the function of the state amid a severe economic crisis. (Xinhua/Phasma)

Central Athens was paralyzed once more on Wednesday, as hundreds of protesters from cities and villages across Greece gathered in front of the parliament to denounce a local government reform draft bill the Greek government promotes.

The "Kallikratis" plan, named after one of the two architects of the Parthenon temple, will lead to an overhaul of the country' s municipality structure.

It introduces mergers of villages and cities into fewer administrative regions and closures of thousands of municipal corporations. It is expected to be ratified in the following days easily, as the socialist government has a wide majority in parliament.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said that the bill represented a revolutionary step for the country, as the target is to modernize the state's function.

He also stressed that the reform is necessary, so that Greece will save money and will get a more efficient local administration structure that could multiply efforts to overcome a severe economic crisis.

As Greece was hit by the unprecedented crisis that alarmed European partners as well this year, the government has pledged to proceed to the reforms needed to put the economy in order in three years. But Greek citizens strongly object to austerity measures and some reforms, they have staged demonstrations almost twice a week for months.

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