Feudal lords

Certain government ministers have been ostentatiously throwing their weight around, doing damage to the government’s image and making it seem that the leadership is surrounded by feudal lords. Asked on his way out of the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday if he and the premier had discussed the possibility of a reshuffle, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said: «We discussed everything. I have nothing more to say.» Most people would assume that the public works minister was summoned by Costas Karamanlis not in order to report the progress of various projects or the much-delayed land register but rather to consult the premier on the government’s overall policy. In other words, people assume that Souflias has a privileged relationship with the premier. Similarly a couple of weeks ago, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas read out a written statement setting out the government’s guidelines. The suggestion, of course, was that he, too, is one of the privileged few who have the premier’s ear. Of course, it’s natural for any conversation with the premier to expand beyond narrow ministry issues. So there are no privileged few and those who cultivate such an impression only give the impression of a fragmented government. The premier talks government policy with all ministers, and some more than others. The more information you have, the better your decisions. It’s wrong that the premier avoids meeting with the deputy ministers who have a finger on the pulse of society. Worse, he hardly has any contact with the MPs who can convey the perspective of the man on the street. After all, if Karamanlis does not get to know his deputies, how can he freshen up the administration with new faces?

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