Keeping bad company

The ruling New Democracy deputies elected in cotton-producing regions have in the past few days broken ranks with the government and fallen behind producers’ excessive demands. Such alliances between deputies and interest or voter groups in an electoral constituency with the aim of supporting a specific claim constitute one of the most vulgar manifestations of patron-client relations and are out of tune with the workings of a democracy. The Constitution stipulates that deputies represent the nation and not just their own constituents. Only representation on a national – as opposed to local – level can safeguard the collective good. Accordingly, the representation in Parliament of the various regional, sectoral, or union interests does more harm than good to the common interest. The representational character of the Constitution is expressed on a regional level through the role of municipal and local authorities. Furthermore, a large number of unions are out to protect the interests of all social groups. The narrower an interest is, the more likely it is to clash with the public good. Many local communities, for example, are against listing their towns for conservation as this will set limits on their ability to develop properties. The logic of unfettered exploitation that permeates many local communities has brought environmental destruction upon them due to industrial activity. Notably, one of the aims behind the introduction of the controversial Kapodistrias plan, which imposed the merger of communities into larger municipalities, was to prevent small communities from making decisions that impinge on the broader region or on society as a whole.

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