OPINION

Haggling over laws

It is inconceivable that a government with any respect for itself, its role and its citizens can haggle over the implementation of laws with certain social groups as a sort of political favor. For a start, laws should be applied equally throughout across the country, and this is the basic element linking territorial integrity with state power. Those who regard political negotiations and transactions during a pre-election period as a standard procedure should accept that we view such exchanges as politically unethical and, above all, a blow to political credibility in general. Let’s start with gas station owners and taxi drivers. The former threatened strike action and then – following shadowy negotiations and transactions – they backed down. No one knows for sure what they were offered to call off their strike. What we do know, however, is that the installation of cash registers on fuel pumps – the main focus of their protests – is linked to many other problems apart from tax evasion, including the smuggling and doctoring of petrol and profiteering. In view of this, we can conclude that most citizens stand to lose from the agreement. With taxi drivers, the problem is not just cash registers but with other issues – including fares (which are indeed low), the practice of taking multiple passengers or refusing to take them, and the decrepit state of some cabs on the road – which both sides conscientiously omit in their negotiations.