OPINION

Purge judiciary of corruption now

Halfway into New Democracy’s tenure in government, one cannot deny that the conservative administration of Costas Karamanlis has refrained from tampering with the ongoing judicial investigation in the trial-fixing rings. In addition, one cannot deny that for the first time in years, prosecutors as well as state officials are keeping a close eye on the marketplace. Numerous profiteers have been located and punished while businesspeople who used to enjoy political protection have been subjected to hefty fines. Greece’s judicial system has finally found the strength and the right political climate to launch a campaign against graft and shake out corruption. The time has passed when the various forces (what former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert calls «mysterious» forces) or influential figures could exploit politicians’ tolerance or total disregard for burgeoning corruption. The time has passed when an annoyed Costas Simitis, the former Socialist prime minister, could ward off corruption allegations against his government with his all-too-familiar response: If anyone has any evidence of corruption, take it to the prosecutor. Without doubt, this conservative government is not perfect. Mistakes, omissions and delays have slowed down its overall performance. But there is no doubt that Prime Minister Karamanlis, backed by a large majority of Greek voters who appear to have confidence in his political morality, has managed to change the voters’ perceptions regarding corruption in the political system and to energize healthy forces in Greece’s sleaze-ridden judiciary. There can be no hope of truly rekindling Greece’s considerable productive forces and its true modernization without first destroying the country’s lingering cells of corruption.