Our Constitution should be durable

Most if not all Greeks probably agree with the prime minister’s declaration regarding the need for a constitutional review. Even the ruling New Democracy party’s opponents must agree with his observation that «Greece has risen to the challenge of achieving democratic normality and stability. It now has to rise to the challenge of achieving competitiveness, growth, prosperity and social cohesion.» The prime minister’s proposals are a step in that direction. Some constitutional amendments should be changed in order to overcome obstacles to progress. Review of the country’s charter is a crucial process in our political system. We should take care to avoid a repetition of what happened in 2001, when we realized we needed a new review right after Parliament passed the previous one. Frequent changes to the Constitution undermine the authority of our institutions and the country’s legal framework. To avert that, there should be the broadest possible consensus among the political parties, at least the major ones. Changes to Article 16 regarding private tertiary institutions (a point of contention between PASOK and ND during the previous review) shows that consensus is possible. Detailed amendments should also be avoided. The Constitution to be passed by the next Parliament should focus on principles, not details. The latter is a job for the legislators. The revised Constitution should transcend the current deadlock. Our politicians should draft a document which will focus on the needs of tomorrow and not the problems of yesterday. This is what Greece needs today.