Critical intervention

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis evidently showed his intense dissatisfaction with some of his ministers by inspecting their offices during visits last week. The premier’s disapproval over poor coordination and conflicts among his ministers is entirely justifiable. Such bad behavior at the beginning of a government’s term does not bode well for the future. Consider the postponed May Day celebrations, which were supposed to be easy to organize. Ultimately, the celebrations required the establishment of a biministerial committee under Karamanlis’s supervision in order to come up with «commonly acceptable» solution. Karamanlis was outraged and understandably so. He is supposed to spend most of his time managing government, not serving as an umpire for it. Indeed, Greece’s laws and constitution give four main responsibilities for the prime minister: securing the unity of the government and guiding its activities, specifying the government’s initiatives, coordinating the implementation of government policy, and solving any disputes among ministers. So the prime minister is obliged to spend some of his time dealing with disputes and controversies. Beyond this, too much focus on the various ministerial blunders and slip-ups – often related to insignificant issues – tend to eclipse the government’s good work.

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