A ruthless game

Christos Pachtas, who was forced to resign as deputy economy minister last Friday after it emerged that he had passed an amendment without getting clearance from his superior Nikos Christodoulakis, told television channels plenty about the content of the controversial legislation but nothing about how he had promoted it. A politician who believes that bureaucratic obstacles threaten to mar a potentially advantageous investment for his constituency does not resort to defective ploys. He defends his position and tries to gain the support of his colleagues in government and in Parliament. It is evident that some of the nine deputies whose signatures appeared on the amendment knew exactly what they were supporting. Some others, however, signed either as a favor to Pachtas, or to return a favor granted to them by him. Unfortunately this practice is the rule rather than the exception. And this is unfortunate for the deputies. They signed the wrong amendment at the wrong moment and suddenly found themselves barred from forthcoming elections. There is no doubt that the way they were excluded was unethical. The right to defend oneself is basic. Even some authoritarian regimes respect this. But from the moment tempers flared, any attempt at explanation became pointless. Even those who claimed that their signatures had been forged were swept away. Public opinion, charged up by the media, wanted blood.

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