A political party falling apart

PASOK has entered a phase of final disintegration. A parliamentary vote on Wednesday night confirmed this when more than 40 of the party?s MPs voted against certain clauses in a series of reforms devised by the Finance Ministry and drawn up by Evangelos Venizelos, the main contender for the party leadership. The fact that the lawmakers? reaction goes against the memorandum which they voted in favor of in the first place should come as no surprise, given that the troika?s choices have unfavorably affected the daily lives of almost all Greek citizens. As a result, everything, from the choosing of a new PASOK leader to the election campaign as well as the formation of alliances between smaller parties, revolves exclusively around the memorandum.

It is no coincidence that one of the contenders, Development Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, either in a fit of honesty or an attempt to broaden his electoral base for the succession battle, stated he voted for the memorandum without actually reading it. The truth is that very few ministers and almost no MPs bothered to read the text, which is binding for Greece for at least 15 years. But no one admitted to it.

Consequently, former PM George Papandreou and his first government?s financial team, and especially Giorgos Papaconstantinou, lie at the heart of political criticism. A probe by financial prosecutors into accusations that Greece?s 2009 public debt figure was artificially inflates also focuses, among others, on Papandreou and Papaconstantinou.

We don?t know what the report contains. We have no opinion on whether it should be sent to Parliament. We are not judging the actions of the justice system nor evaluating the method used by the two prosecutors. Nevertheless, two deplorable political errors were committed in the political management of this issue: The first was made by Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, when he threatened that a ?bloodbath? would ensue if Papandreou was harmed. The second was by Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou, who asked the Supreme Court to decide whether the two prosecutors should be dismissed.

This column is not responsible for, knowledgeable about or interested in determining whether the actions of both ministers constitute interference in the duty of justice. Through their actions, however, the ministers created certainty that they are trying to cover up for PASOK officials? responsibilities. This is a childish reaction. In times of crisis, politically advanced countries opt to sacrifice people for the system to survive. PASOK has yet to reach a similar state of maturity, hence all the current incoherence.

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