OPINION

Chaos and insolence

Virtually all Olympic-related projects were left half-finished by PASOK’s socialist government. Most of the venues and infrastructure projects are far behind schedule. The deadlines are fictitious or unfeasible. There will hardly be any time to perform safety checks or deal with any technical snags and unexpected problems. The serious delays in infrastructure, venues and landscaping are the product of political irresponsibility and lack of organization. The sluggishness of the previous administration has also resulted in significant budget overruns and failure to cater for additional projects that were needed. These were finally agreed on later by PASOK. In short, the conservative government has a gun to its head. It must achieve the impossible so that preparations meet the ultimate deadline: the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games. The main task of the New Democracy administration will be to make sure that Greece will not be ridiculed in the eyes of the outside world – a real threat that has been caused by PASOK’s negligence and dilatoriness. Instead of keeping – anxiously – silent under the heavy burden of their responsibility, the former ministers of the Simitis administrations have displayed a stunning political insolence, attacking the new government for warning about the delays and tight timetables. Former Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos accused the new government of trying to exploit the work of its predecessors and urged it «to shake off its petty-partisan reflexes.» Former Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said that if the government «continues to talk about delays, it will play into the hands of contractors who will seek additional contracts.» As if their responsibility were not enough, PASOK’s former ministers do not hesitate to criticize the government, and continue to show an arrogance and immoderation that is typical of individuals who are used to not being held accountable for their actions. Taking advantage of the fact that the new government must go hell for leather to have the projects completed in time and carry out the Games successfully, the former Socialist ministers who should bear the blame for the current chaos think they can harp on issues of importance to the public with impunity. They obviously fail to understand that such behavior adds to the public disillusionment with them – as expressed in PASOK’s landslide defeat in the recent general election – a fact which could render them unelectable for many years to come.