OPINION

Defenders and accessories

The political parties’ unanimous condemnation of the recent attempt to destabilize the political system was a positive sign. The subsequent solidarity forged upon the ruling socialist party was a godsend for the PASOK administration. But is the current prime minister, who has been in power for six years, entitled to beg for and invoke the support of the opposition in an effort to protect the democratic institutions from non-institutional power centers? On what grounds does a party which has been in power for most of the past 20 years try to portray itself as the target and potential victim of illegal interests along with the other political parties? These two questions do not constitute just a parameter but, in fact, the substance of the issue which has surfaced over the previous days on the occasion of the unethical attack on the president of the Republic. This is because all of us – politicians, journalists, and citizens – run the risk of confusing the cause and the result and of channeling our indignation onto the perpetrators, and, therefore, of vindicating the real instigators. Corruption is not a self-generated parasite. It is cultivated, fed and nurtured, especially on public blood. Unlawful interests only thrive under the wing of corrupt public officials. This is why they are called entangled interests. Therefore, if non-institutional centers managed to reach the point of threatening to «subjugate democracy,» as Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Monday, it is not enough for them to portray themselves as its defenders. More than anything else, we have to identify the true culprits who are actually part of our political sphere. This is the only way to kill off the ill phenomenon for good. Thus, the responsibility of the ruling party, which has been in power for nearly two decades, cannot be divvied up nor equally distributed among all the political parties. Unlawful interests may also be fostered by other political parties. These interests, however, are subordinate ones, supporting those parties’ bid for power. Corruption is directly produced and maintained with the complicity or tolerance of the ruling party. This has to be realized by the prime minister, above all, as well as by those, both within and outside the political domain, who offered to side with the government as defenders of our democratic institutions. Moreover, the abuse of heroin among users who stayed in a rehab center for more than a year dropped by 76 percent, while for those who exited the program after the first nine months, the figure is 47 percent, for those who stayed in therapy for three to nine months, 31 percent, and for those who stayed less than three months the recovery record is just 11 percent.