OPINION

Dangerous habit

A high-ranking judicial official sent us the following comment: «The crucial issue is not so much (Deputy Finance Minister Christos) Pachtas’s amendment but the debasement of law as the basic pillar of a well-governed state. That is, of a state which functions according to the law and not according to the arbitrary will of those who are in power. «In such a state, the law entails rules which are equally binding on all citizens. Laws which are designed to settle individual cases and nothing else essentially are not laws but an exercise of power. They are disguised under the mantle of law in an attempt to favor specific individuals and to bypass the Council of State.» Such were the words of a representative of the legal system. He is absolutely right. The practice of attaching amendments – which, in most cases, are nothing but political favors – to unrelated bills which are tabled at the last minute and late at night when the parliamentary session is attended by a small number of (carefully selected) deputies, is a longstanding habit. It is a practice that distorts lawmaking, undermines the legal system and disgraces Parliament. Despite occasional protests, this method continues to this day. The fallout from the controversial land development bill has caused serious damage to George Papandreou’s campaign. There is even talk of sabotage. The whole situation reflects what Kathimerini has stressed from the very beginning: Two poles exist within the ruling Socialists. On the one hand, there is the government which acts without restraint and with a logic peculiar to it (if it exists) – which is a stranger to election needs. On the other hand, there is a Papandreou who pledges «change and renewal.» Most paradoxically, notwithstanding the damage, the tabling of dubious, last-minute bills and amendments goes on as before.