Dodging responsibility

Those who still remember Costas Karamanlis’s political discourse up to 2004 probably agree that the impact of political power is not unlike the spells of Circe. In the absence of a clear political plan and strong political will, the best of intentions can soon become a nightmare. After an early period of «humility» and «moderation,» the conservatives took the beaten track, effectively rehashing the Simitis sound bite: «Any evidence should be submitted to the prosecutor.» Again like PASOK, New Democracy is allergic to parliamentary committees. ND’s stance aims to neutralize the control of the public and media and conceal the fact that scandals are not isolated cases but nourished by an ailing system. Seeing the forest as an aggregate of isolated trees merely serves as a cover-up. It is no coincidence that, like their Socialist predecessors, the conservatives have failed to come up with appropriate institutional measures to combat corruption in general. The government’s tendency to hide behind the judicial system cannot be justified by legal technicalities. Rather, it’s a convenient way to deal with scandals without taking responsibility for its actions. This is why the executive power traditionally seeks to control the judicial. The hypocrisy of the political parties has made corruption an endemic phenomenon, spreading across all levels of the social pyramid and undermining the rule of law. At the top of the pyramid, corruption most commonly takes the form of political and business entanglement and, of course, bribery. The Siemens bribery scandal leaves no room for delusion. Although both PASOK and ND officials seem to be implicated in the case, the government has so far refused to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate. It is acting like the guardian of a sinful tradition, which is also the root cause of the poor ratings of Greece’s mainstream parties.