OPINION

Four questions for Giannakou

To conceal incriminating evidence is a criminal offense. On what grounds, therefore, can a government minister say she possesses full evidence of serious legal violations in her sphere of competence that she does not intend to make public? This concerns Education Minister Marietta Giannakou and concerns the 46 student children of ministers or deputies who were allegedly transferred to prestigious universities over the past five years. The cases are similar to those which led to the resignation of Agriculture Minister Savvas Tsitouridis and PASOK spokesman Spyros Vougias. A probe launched by Giannakou found that these were not isolated cases, but rather customary practice among politicians whose children could only make it to universities that were not among their first choices. Giannakou confirmed that such offenses are the rule rather than the exception, but she would not release the names of the wrongdoers or notify the responsible authorities. Her reasoning was that «if the names were published, Parliament would crumble.» Notably, both main parties have asked in Parliament for the names to be made public. The first question is: What gives Giannakou the right to protect some of her colleagues who have broken the law? Second, why does she think that Parliament can keep silent or cover up an issue which touches upon the principle of equality before the law? Thirdly, does she believe that our elected representatives also have a right to collectively protect their vested interests on issues like corruption or the squandering of public funds? Finally, she must clarify why she plans to send the list of the offenders to PASOK’s chairman, leaving it to his discretion whether to publish the names or not. Giannakou’s handling of the issue does not just put her on the spot but the entire government as well.