An irrational factor

When the Avriani daily started publishing its incriminating allegations, the key question was whether the attacks would be limited to government officials with links to businessman Athanassios Athanassoulis. It’s now clear that publisher Giorgos Kouris will give a performance to remember by transforming his campaign into a fight to the bitter end. By forwarding the matter to the justice authorities, with sideline interventions and with his repeated statements, Prime Minister Costas Simitis tried to shift the accusations out of the spotlight of current affairs and thus take control of the situation. Unfortunately for him, however, it is the contents of Avriani and not the government that are now shaping the daily political agenda. The reason for this is simple: The public has long been convinced that most politicians exploit their political power for illicit financial gain. This assessment is unfair to many, but is closer to reality than the idyllic picture being painted by the prime minister. Within such a climate, Avriani’s allegations find their target and reveal themselves as an «irrational factor» influencing the political system. Regardless of Kouris’s motives, the political and ethical dilemma which has arisen cannot be tackled with diversionary tactics. Simitis is trapped. The fact that his own integrity has not been questioned is irrelevant. As premier, he is obliged to maintain a governing system which does not tolerate misconduct. Here, his performance has been a disappointment.