COMMENT

Political bankruptcy

By Nikos Xydakis

Greece?s economic meltdown has pushed the two-party system which came to dominate domestic politics after the end of the military dictatorship in the early 1970s to the verge of collapse. Evidence of this is drawn from recent opinion polls that document the views and intentions of a frustrated and ambivalent electorate. But it is also reflected in the stance of Greek politicians only a few weeks away from the parliamentary vote.

Bankrupt deputies and ministers have in the past couple of years created laws that work against the interests of future generations. Without even bothering to read the laws, Greek politicians do not hesitate to table thousands of pages of amendments at the very last moment in a bid to serve the interests and requests of their political clients.

A bunch of expired and failed politicians continue to make laws amid the ruins weeks away from a ballot that will see them consigned to the dustbin of history. Paradoxically, they still think there is a clientele to be served out there.

Their shameful amendments demonstrate precisely who is pushing the once-dominant parties off the cliff, who is breaching their constitutional oaths and who is fueling the popular rage against the Parliament.

The controversial amendments also demonstrate that the people have been entrusting their fate to vulgar populists, idle heirs and political dwarfs.

Many of them will in the coming days sneak out and ask voters to renew their mandate, promising in return the only thing they can offer: a continuation of patron-client practices. In the process, they will invoke the threat of the rise of the extreme right and the absence of a strong government. There is in fact truth in the concerns that lumpen far-right elements will make it into Parliament. But one has to keep in mind that it was the lumpen behavior of the more established parties across the political spectrum that fueled their rise.

Greece?s bankruptcy is above all a political bankruptcy. Politics lies defeated, the country is under strict supervision. The parties? proposals are anemic and barely convincing because politicians are down to their knees, breathless and defeated. They can inspire nothing but fatalism and fear. The vote will serve as their punishment.

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