OPINION

Deputies’ blunder

The recent revelation of the unacceptable and unanimous decision by the Greek Parliament to give dozens of deputies an easy ride has made a very bad impression. Acting in conspiratorial fashion and with the connivance of all parties, Parliament has decided – without a dissenting vote – to grant a monthly allowance of some 3,000 euros to all former deputies who were freelance professionals and who failed to get elected last March. The money will also go to those who did not become candidates because the law on incompatibility does not allow deputies to exercise their profession. In the wink of an eye, it was decided to give a monthly bonus for two years that is the equivalent of three months’ wages for a teacher to individuals who offer no service whatsoever to the state. All this amounts to a gross insult to the public. It is simply not acceptable for the government to invoke the dire state of the Greek economy in order to expedite the return of negligible sums – which the state has already snatched from hundreds of thousands of poor pensioners through LAFKA social insurance – and also to have the money they demand so that deputies can hand over the equivalent of more than a million drachmas a month to those whom voters did not want to elect again. The attempt to play up the fact that these former politicians have problems reintegrating into their professional lives or the consequences of the incompatibility involves outrageous pretexts. For one thing, the people never forced anyone to go into politics. It is a personal decision by each deputy to try to gain a seat in Parliament, and it is their personal responsibility to deal with the consequences of that decision if they fail. As for incompatibility, if deputies have made the wrong decision, due either to poor judgment or to a self-serving, unconfessed desire to exclude their professionally successful colleagues from Parliament by roundabout means, why should the taxpayers fork out millions to people who failed to get elected? The leaders of the country must realize that this decision discredits deputies, and they should rescind it. They do not need to add the righteous wrath of the people to the prejudices and frequently unjust opinions to which deputies often fall victim.