OPINION

Exceptional terms?

The constitutional provisions «on corruption» are unclear and hypocritical. This was remarked upon a while ago and attributed to expediency on the government’s part, a method of ensuring that the provisions are not enforceable or easy to violate. These suspicions and suspicions are now being proven correct with five provisions – apparently designed to serve the interests of certain individuals – having been presented to the relevant parliamentary committee by Press and Mass Media Minister Christos Protopappas, only to meet with outraged reactions from all the opposition parties. Some provisions appear to be calculated to allow constitutional violations, such as the one that undermines the authority of the National Broadcasting Council through the gradual establishment of some «institute.» Others violate the constitutional provision regarding main shareholders (a provision which is, in any case, unclear) by making an exception of share blocks which have been pawned off. It is pretty clear what a maze of corruption that particular provision could lead us into. Because constitutional provisions are what they are and cannot be changed, we would expect Mr Protopappas to explain the legislative reforms he is trying to pass at the moment and to lend them the authority, the stability and the gravity which are appropriate. By creating what are essentially «constitutional exceptions,» he is embarking on the slippery slope toward wide-ranging violations of the Constitution. And he is also obliging us to attempt to discern which individuals and which interests the government is trying to serve, and which policies or other pressures are hidden behind the provisions being presented in Parliament. One would also have expected Mr Protopappas to be more sensitive about these matters in view of his own personal entanglement in corruption allegations (Avriani daily publisher Giorgos Kouris has claimed that Protopappas’s 1996 election campaign was funded by Altec computer firm owner Athanassios Athanassoulis) at least until the matter has been cleared up by the judicial authorities – to whom Protopappas himself has appealed.