Prime minister is not above it all

It seems that Prime Minister Costas Simitis has reserved for himself the role of a third party, standing aloof from, even above, the crisis in the ruling party, from the way the country is being governed and, unfortunately, from the country itself. In an attempt to shunt political responsibility away from himself and his office, he directs all and sundry to the prosecutors of the Supreme Court. Let them calculate the square meters of his dwelling or those of his ministers. This is the image of the prime minister that emerged from Friday’s announcement – arrogant, and at the same time, politically speaking, flummoxed. He refuses to see the political depth of the crisis, nor the untrustworthiness and bankruptcy of the ruling party and of the way it rules. He makes light of «business rivalries,» avoiding the fact that these rivalries, like many others that reveal accumulated layers of rotten and bankrupt politics, were hatched in the corridors of his own governments, embroil people he has chosen, and above all, reveal much about the way the country is governed. The massive pillaging of the Athens bourse and even worse, the crime against the actual institutions of the stock exchange and the national economy, were not undertaken by the fraudsters and swindlers of Sophocleous Street alone. Nor was it possible for them to carry out the robbery single-handedly. Either they were acting under direct political protection or under a political blind eye. Whatever the case, they carried out their depredations during the premiership of Mr Simitis and in the heart of his government. Business rivalries have always existed and will always exist. The job of the prime minister and his government is to safeguard forms of legality, and not to settle disputes by taking now one side, now the other. The prime minister is neither a third party nor a judge or referee who must do something but does not know what nor when. He is at the center of the crisis; it would not exist without him, and is fed by him. It is not that Simitis does not act under pressure. It is that he does not dare to look into the depths of the abyss. And that’s a pity.

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