OPINION

Editorial

The stance of the socialist PASOK party toward constitutional reforms has never been ideal. In 1975, at the height of the late Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou’s leftist rhetoric, PASOK walked out of the final ballot on the approval of the first post-1974 Constitution. Eleven years later, the ruling PASOK party introduced constitutional amendments to grant more powers to the prime minister, seeking an institutional cover for its graceless behavior toward Constantine Karamanlis during the sensational presidential election of 1985. It is to be hoped that the latest constitutional revision will stand a better chance. This expectation was strengthened by the consensus between the government and the opposition on the majority of the proposed amendments. However, the unavoidably general provisions of the Constitution cannot translate into practice without the adoption of the so-called executive articles of the Constitution. The government’s record in this area is disappointing. Eight months after the final approval of the Constitution, none of the 34 laws have been adopted. This foot-dragging has consequences on crucial aspects of the public sphere. The constitutional call for transparency in the property status of the mass media rings hollow at a time when the distribution of TV licenses is drawing to a close. The monitoring of the parties’ finances remains a dead letter, reforms on the ailing judicial system have been suspended, and the major issue of protection of forest areas has stagnated. A relatively innocent interpretation would attribute the delays to the overall makeshift approach which is typical of the majority of government sectors. A more suspicious observer would note that constitutional vagueness benefits vested interests as it allows them to create a de facto situation before any final settlements. In any case, the legal deadlock results in the suspension of important articles of the Constitution, which itself constitutes an institutional anomaly. It is the responsibility of all deputies, whether in the government or the opposition, to break this deadlock as soon as possible. As an experienced deputy pointed out, The Constitution does not just rest on the patriotism of Greek citizens, but also on the political will of the ruling elite.