OPINION

Editorial

When Prime Minister Costas Simitis was confronted with allegations of entangled vested interests, corruption and illegal activity by government officials a few years ago, he responded that anyone who possesses evidence should present it to the prosecutor. His remarks triggered reactions within his party, given that such accusations, apart from a judicial investigation of each case, also have to be dealt with at the political and institutional level. Still, Simitis’s position was accepted by the public and his recommendation was essentially followed by the parties making accusations. When the various investigation results put the blame on government cadres and state officials, one would have expected the prime minister to demonstrate his consistency by showing that he actually meant what he said. Unfortunately, he did not. In each case, the government spokesman and top ministers preferred to attack the legal functionaries, rather than ask that the controversial cases be cleared up. The findings by top prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos of the illegal granting of Greek nationality to foreigners were met with similar reactions. The government’s tactic is to question the motives of the legal functionaries who attribute responsibility to government officials by portraying them as mouthpieces of the opposition. Kathimerini does not exclude the possibility that some legal functionaries may indeed breach their oaths, making decisions not according to their conscience, but according to partisan objectives. If we assume that some prosecutors serve the political objectives of the opposition, then the number of those who serve the political objectives of the governing party is definitely larger. But if we decide to tread the slippery path of seeking political objectives behind every judicial decision, then we will severely undermine the image and the independence of justice. The executive power has a political, moral and constitutional duty to safeguard the prestige and the independence of judicial power. If the justice minister can indeed prove that a prosecutor is guided by the opposition or that he has violated a set of fundamental principles, he should push for his legal prosecution. As long as he fails to do this and as long as the government spokesman continues to respond to investigation findings with slanderous attacks against the prosecutors, the government’s impropriety will only become greater. Citizens and businesses will soon have to show a more responsible attitude. Politics must do the same. Those who aspire to lead the country ought to get over their pretensions and shape the conditions for a new type of politician, one who will not confine himself to the surface but rather will delve into substantive matters; a politician who will know the art of governance, be careful of what he says and back his proposals with evidence.