New constitution calls for consensus

Is there a need for a revision of the constitution? The consensus in the political world is «yes» – and with due cause. Our constitution is one of the best in Europe but some of its provisions could use a review. But this revision must be done seriously and only after a consensus has been reached. After all, several provisions – including the one forbidding MPs from practicing another full-time profession, the one barring media owners for bidding for state contracts, the protection of forestland and the creation of private universities – need to be solved. So the government has undertaken a serious initiative by heralding a constitutional revision. And although opposition PASOK may be seeking to exploit the situation, it is more or less on the same side as ruling New Democracy on this issue. Indeed, the general understanding is that the two main parties will meet eye-to-eye on the issue eventually. So, why the cheap maneuvers by PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos – the party’s appointed spokesperson on constitutional revision? And why the strict orders issued to party cadres by chief George Papandreou? These are the rules of the game, Greek-style. Papandreou will accuse the government of crude and self-promoting tactics and will find the opportunity to discredit his aspiring predecessor, awarding another – less qualified – deputy the role of overseeing the revision of the constitution. The Left will condemn the debated revision as «reactionary» and things will take their usual course, with the government doing all the dirty work and submitting its final «packet» to Parliament.

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