During its first few weeks in power, Greece’s conservative government has already introduced a number of appropriate measures, it has sent out a few right signals and has, by and large, made good appointments.
The new administration, naturally, still needs to hit its stride. And, inevitably, some mistakes will be made along the way. In fact, some have been made already.
The first had to do with the small number of women in the cabinet. The failing was admitted by conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and he is probably already looking for ways to alleviate the negative impression created by the makeup of his male-dominated cabinet.
Subsequently, although the government had done some serious preparation and while it displayed rarely seen preparedness in appointing established or much-promising general secretaries at the ministries, it went on to pick a junta supporter as general secretary for tourism – a decision which marred the otherwise positive impression. In fact, the decision came as Mitsotakis is seen to be pulling his New Democracy party closer to the political center.
An even bigger mistake was the government’s decision last week to submit two last-minute amendments to Parliament.
Such tactics undermine the status of parliamentary procedure as well as the government itself. They are rejected by the government’s political rivals (opposition lawmakers walked out of Parliament in reaction to the procedure). Worse still, they are dismissed by the wise-headed supporters of the government who will not just passively endorse every decision or tactic adopted by the administration.
To be sure, New Democracy is not the only party to have gone down that path. Its leftist predecessors made quite a habit out of submitting last-minute amendments. Actually, when the conservatives were in opposition, they had deplored such political stratagems as unacceptable.
This reality – that it was done in the past – does not change the fact that doing so is an unacceptable parliamentary practice. Even worse in this case, the last-minute measures were in domains that did not require urgency.
In addition, unlike the measures designed to scrap the university asylum, the amendments in question were not even part of the conservatives’ campaign pledges.
Sadly, they cast a shadow on the positive image and the sense of normalcy conveyed in Parliament by the moderate and thorough discourse of some government officials such as Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, State Minister George Gerapetritis and Education Minister Niki Kerameus.