Campaign fireworks

Those who have been wondering about the government’s sudden eagerness to bring about the much-hyped «modernization of our political system» will, perhaps, feel more enlightened following the remarks yesterday by government spokesman Christos Protopappas. In view of Friday’s expanded inner Cabinet meeting, Protopappas confirmed the government’s intention to push for a new electoral law, along with other adjustments, and expressed the opinion that these changes will put the New Democracy opposition «in a very difficult position.» It is of little interest whether Protopappas’s prediction will come true or not. The Greek public is mainly interested in the government’s dangerously lighthearted attitude in handling such crucial institutional issues. According to the government’s mentality, a fundamental criterion for introducing a reform is how far this will obstruct the government’s rivals or how many benefits will come from potential alliances – and not whether the changes will help solve existing problems. It is a fact that there is no perfect or eternal electoral system. Each republic decides what bests suits to its particular characteristics – the central criterion being marrying people’s demands with effective governance. However, a mature republic will change its electoral system only reluctantly, after thorough preparation and ensuring the consensus of all the main political groups, and on the basis of a well-grounded political reasoning. In Greece, on the other hand, we have had as many electoral laws as we have had governments. And the problem is not confined to that specific issue alone. Similar problems beset the crucial education sector, where successive ministers have been keen to announce pompous reforms that effectively remove the work of their predecessors. In that way, alternations in power destroy the much-needed continuity in the evolution of society, and wipe off any positive contributions of previous reforms. It is high time the government and the opposition broke the vicious circle of opportunism and abandoned their campaign fireworks, which often blow up in the hands of those who play with them.

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