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Culture > Current Affairs > UPDATE: LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON KYTHERA

18542: Culture > Current Affairs

submitted by John Stathatos on 19.02.2011

UPDATE: LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON KYTHERA

Kythera, like the rest of Greece, has entered a period of considerable political and economic crisis which is likely to continue for some time. The situation, however, is much worse for small municipalities, and Kythera of course is one of the dozen or so smallest in the country. The reason is that from the first of January, a sweeping program of municipal reform known as the Kallikratis Law came into effect; the law devolves a considerable number of heavy responsibilities (such as town planning) directly onto municipalities, whilst simultaneously greatly increasing their bureaucratic obligations. The problem is that the reforms were originally formulated before the current economic and credit crisis hit, the original idea being that there would be a net transfer of both funds and personnel from central and regional authorities to the municipalities. What has in fact happened is that just as the demands on municipalities increased by a factor of almost 100%, far from receiving an increased government allocation, they were hit by a net decrease and an enforced cut in staffing of at least 15%.

Under these circumstances, there is some question as to how an island with a permanent population of under 3,800 and few resources other than tourism can possibly cope with the same level of demands that have to be met by cities of several hundred thousand inhabitants. While this would present a problem to even the most effective of municipal governments, the performance of the current council over the last month and a half has not so far given rise to much optimism.

For those interested in following current affairs on the island and who have a reasonably good grasp of Greek, it is worth consulting the internet site maintained by Kythiraiki Protovoulia (“Kytherian Initiative”), the reform group which challenged the two existing power blocks in last autumn’s municipal elections and won almost 10% of the vote and a single seat on the municipal council. The address is < http://www.protovouliakythera.com/>, and there are frequent updates reflecting developments on the council and elsewhere on the island. The posts of course reflect Protovoulia’s general reformist stance, but are considered accurate enough for local news media, including other internet sites but also the main Kytherian newspapers, to often reprint them in their entirety.

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