NEWS

Faith in state bodies waning

The faith that citizens have in state institutions plunged last year – a development believed to be linked to Greece’s worsening financial situation – while trust in independent authorities has risen, according to a survey carried out by polling firm Public Issue on behalf of Kathimerini. Public Issue questioned 1,001 respondents about their trust in 48 different institutions, including political parties, state bodies and independent organizations, and rated them on an index according to the number of points they were awarded. The index showed a dramatic increase in the perceived trustworthiness of the National Meteorological Service (EMY), which rose to the top of the index, a spot previously occupied by the fire service, which was blamed for last summer’s catastrophic forest fires near Athens. There was also a marked increase in faith in the police force, which came under attack several times last year by members of resurgent domestic terror groups. The armed forces rose to sixth place on the index, which also revealed a boost in public faith in newly privatized, former state carrier Olympic Air and the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), which is the civil service recruitment watchdog. The index also showed a boost in the public’s trust in President Karolos Papoulias, who was ranked third. The role of president was the only political institution to receive a vote of confidence from the public, possibly because it is a largely ceremonial role. Meanwhile, the status of the government as well as municipal and prefectural authorities remained near the bottom of the index. The government retained the rock-bottom slot it had occupied in 2008, despite the change in administration from the conservatives to socialists last October. Local government was rated only slightly above the country’s central administration. Apart from the fire service and the country’s political system, other losers on the index were the media and the Internet, deemed to be increasingly unreliable.