Thodoris Chondrogiannos
Violation of the legislative process for amendments in law 4790/2021
31 • 03 • 2021

 In a state that adheres to the rule of law, Parliament votes on bills by strictly applying the Constitution and the rules it has established for its transparent and democratic operation. However, during the enactment of law 4790/2021, the rules of good legislation for amendments were violated.

Aiming at the adoption of rules for good and transparent legislation that adheres to the rule of law, Article 74 paragraph 5 of the Constitution and  Articles 87, 88 and 101, paragraph 5 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament stipulate that ministerial amendments to proposed bills must be submitted, at the latest, three days before the start of the debate in the Plenary or the relevant parliamentary committee, and prohibits amendments that are irrelevant to the main object of the bill.

The purpose of the above rules is to allow enough time for the proper legislative and consultation processes to be followed, allowing input both from MPs and from the public – of any regulation proposed by ministers in the form of amendments. 

The prohibition of overdue amendments prevents the submission – shortly before the passage of the bill – of regulations that will inevitably escape the attention of the public sphere, resulting in a lack of transparency and accountability on issues that affect individual rights, public procurement and other issues that will influence the lives of millions of citizens.

The prohibition of irrelevant amendments, on the other hand, aims to focus the legislator’s attention on just one issue, because in this way public debate will be more substantial and focussed, but furthermore because the regulation of many different issues by one single bill inevitably leads to the fragmentation of legislation as well as cumbersome legislation that is not easy to apply.

Furthermore, two of the amendments ultimately tabled to the bill, in violation of the law and the rules of good legislation, contained provisions unrelated to the main object of the bill, such as the special subsidy for religious organizations and the amendment of the legal framework for the removal of the confidentiality of communications.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

In a state governed by the rule of law, the government and the parliament must produce laws in adherence to both the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, as well as the other rules that have been established to guarantee and promote good and transparent legislative practices.

 In this case, the government has violated the rules laid out in the Constitution for amendments, which on the one hand leads to laws that are unclear and difficult to use, and on the other hand shakes the trust of citizens in democracy and the rule of law.

Thodoris Chondrogiannos
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