OPINION

Transparency

Opinion polls indicate that the Greek people demand transparency and remain deeply concerned over a lack of credibility in the political administration on national security, hence confirming the popular calls for a «clean game.» In a recent VPRC survey, commissioned by SKAI radio station, the vast majority of respondents (74 percent) said they approve the government’s decision to set up a parliamentary committee to probe arms procurements conducted under the ousted Socialist administration. More than 76 percent of those queried said that the parliamentary investigation should be expanded to cover the deeds of the current defense minister, despite the fact that no arms deals have been signed during his tenure. Public approval of the work of the investigating committee is also reflected in the respondents’ views on a number of related issues, where the majority voice apprehension over the manner in which governments are handling public money and security matters. PASOK scores poorly in that respect, as only 17 percent said they would trust a Socialist government. Remarkably, only a small percentage said they trust New Democracy, although it came to power only nine months ago. Only 32 percent said they have confidence in the ruling conservative party, while 33 percent said they would not trust any of Greece’s political parties. As regards the arms procurements by the Socialist administration, 54 percent said that the public sector had been overcharged. The VPRC poll is another indication that the lack of transparency in previous years has seriously damaged politicians’ credibility in the eyes of the public. Public skepticism is not a result of people distancing themselves from politics but rather of their thinking politically. Citizens clearly feel they have been betrayed by their representatives. Pessimism is strongest among mature, educated men – a fact which seems to reinforce the above conclusion. The public sentiment reflected in the SKAI survey should should be a wake-up call for politicians who must realize that restoring transparency to public administration is a fundamental public demand and the only way to regain credibility from society. Failure to establish transparency in politics will further undermine the credibility of the political process and its power to rally the country’s fighting forces for the challenges ahead.