OPINION

Government paradox

The arguments that PASOK uses to refute opposition charges of corruption are erroneous, the parliamentary debate again underscored yesterday. Most importantly, they fall short of convincing the public. The situation for the ordinary citizen is so obvious that the opposition does not need to simplify it any further, nor does the government have the power to complicate or blur it. First of all, corruption is an undeniable fact. The government does not deny this but invokes the fact that about 1,500 cases of public money squandering are pending trial at the Supreme Court. This is not scandalmongering; it looks more like an epidemic. Second, it takes two to squander public money: a private individual who seeks to extract illicit profits and the state official who takes part in the deception. As a result, most of the blame lies with the political appointees. The government’s claim that opposition deputies may also be involved in corruption cases may be legitimate, but that doesn’t spread the responsibility over the entire political spectrum – nor is the opposition equally to blame, given that the final say on contracts, laws and decisions lies with the ruling majority. Third, a party which has been in power for most of two decades and which affirms the existence of corruption cannot possibly come across as either the guarantor of transparency or the avenger of legality. How can one justify the fact that no senior political official has ever resigned following charges of illegal exchange between the State and the citizens? Needless to say, such a resignation would signify acceptance of political responsibility. Above all, this situation indicates and guarantees the government’s abstinence from efforts to purge the political system of corruption and from truly seeking justice.