OPINION

Irreplaceable ministers

There has been much talk behind the scenes lately among government officials and top aides over the serious problems bedeviling the model of governance. In consequence, a part of government work is behind, ministers are incapable of cooperating with one another, while the prime minister, disappointed and upset, is trying to improve the effectiveness of the model. But what is so peculiar about this model? This is a normal government body made up of ministers who ought to be working on the basis of Cabinet decisions and guidelines announced by the prime minister. There is nothing original about this. Perhaps the only original thing about it is that the prime minister may give orders to his ministers that they choose to ignore, either because they have something else on their minds or because they lack the qualifications demanded by their post. The latter explanation would mean that Costas Simitis erred in including them in the government lineup last October. If we accept that the prime minister is, for his part, doing his job properly and that the problems dogging government only stem from the poor performance of some of the ministers, then the most reasonable solution would be to remove these ministers from their posts. But this is not an option, Simitis’s aides argue, as the government reshuffle took place only three months ago and hence having a new one would convey a very bad impression. Since the existing model does not seem to be functioning smoothly, the government has decided to promote a new version: The prime minister will grow upset over the inability or the unwillingness of certain deputies to work properly and will have them strictly monitored in the hope that a series of issues, including social policy, will be better handled in the near future. If this does not bear fruit, the only course of action left open for the prime minister is to get even more upset. For what else is there to do if it is not possible to replace the ministers who cause a backlog in government work? Petrie shot himself once in the head, Middlebrook said. A. 357-caliber Magnum handgun was found with the body, he said. Middlebrook said police were calling the death a suicide even though an autopsy was scheduled and an investigation into his death was pending. Police did not find a suicide note, Middlebrook said.