Stretching the limits of public tolerance

It is exceptionally difficult to identify a government or New Democracy party official who can confidently claim to be satisfied with the ND administration’s image, despite the absence of an effective political opposition. Indeed, PASOK leader George Papandreou appears to be too busy trying to consolidate his leadership to criticize the ruling conservatives. Yet despite an unprecedented level of public tolerance, the government is struggling to find its footing and implement the major reforms it has introduced in the broader public sector. One would have thought that the stern warnings issued by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to his ministers during the recent Cabinet meeting would have effectively curbed the blunders. There is no shortage of examples. A major one is that of the imipaithrious horous – open spaces in apartments or houses that have been illegally closed – which created an unprecedented confusion among citizens trying to fill out their now-infamous E9 property tax declarations. The list goes on. The most recent incident involves Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos’s press aide, Thanassis Houpis, who was sacked for bypassing official procedures in recruitment for a state bank. The only certainty is that the limits of the prime minister’s tolerance are being constantly stretched.