Ends justify means

The controversial land development amendment presented by former Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas and its fallout were the outcome of a procedure that was pushed through Parliament in violation of institutional and parliamentary rules and principles. The signatures of deputies were forged; the amendment was drafted in the offices of a private company: The whole case was the product of behind-the-scenes negotiations beyond democratic control. Had parliamentary procedures been adhered to, the amendment would have never reached Parliament, nor thrown the ruling party into crisis. The leadership switch within the ruling Socialists – a decision made behind closed doors due to pressure from grim election forecasts – raises a number of concerns. George Papandreou was picked even before he was nominated and embarked on a pre-election campaign like a general without a commission. Today, he is looking for democratic legitimacy after the fact through the hoopla of a party convention and elections. Rules were violated in reverse procedure. The letter of the law was not adhered to, and the principles underlying the democratic party were ignored. The end was used to justify the means. The ruling by the state privacy watchdog that Sunday’s procedure would violate the Constitution, as the names of «party friends» would be stored on computer, confirmed that Papandreou’s nomination took place in breach of democratic rules and principles. This lack of sensitivity for formalities, rules and principles, as well as the penchant for arbitrary interpretations and acts are all serious causes for concern. Even more so when it comes from people who are keen to proclaim their dedication to democratic institutions.