OPINION

Transparency

The uproar in PASOK’s parliamentary group over the government’s inspiration to have deputies give the Capital Market Commission the power to monitor their stock market transactions led to open revolt yesterday. In a letter to the Parliament speaker, 23 parliamentary deputies from the ruling PASOK party observed that this «authorization» insulted them as it cast doubts on the credibility of their statements of assets and laid the emphasis onto deputies while excluding government officials. The 23 MPs pointed out that the governmental initiative hurting their credibility was taken despite the fact that both the legal structure and the competent bodies existed to check the accuracy of their statements of assets, so that little more needed doing than to set the machinery in motion. But above all, the deputies noted that the focus on monitoring parliamentarians alone shifted the weight of political responsibility «in a way that is highly misleading.» At first sight, this reaction might appear to be unjustified. If the deputies in question were demanding that everyone be monitored, why would they refuse the lesser course? The reason is both institutional and substantive. Both the deputies, who have for years been making statements of assets, and the parliamentary commission responsible for monitoring them are made to appear to lack credibility beforehand, since responsibility for monitoring all transactions will now lie with the Capital Market Commission, irrespective of whether there are the slightest doubts about their statements. The move is a direct insult to deputies as people and to the parliamentary commission as an institution by restricting the inspection to deputies, when according to all indications, other officials appear to be the protagonists in the sinister games on the Athens Stock Exchange. So much for the institutional level. Other factors support the protesting deputies’ position. Supposedly, the government’s initiative was prompted by the need to remove the taint of corruption from political life. But the main accusations were not aimed at deputies, but at holders of other posts, who, strangely enough, have been excluded from the government’s campaign… which has revealed itself to be a subterfuge, aimed at making an impression without actually doing anything.