Politicians’ honor

The country’s political system is currently in the eye of the cyclone. It is irrelevant that the judicial inquiry into the Siemens scandal has only produced tangible evidence against PASOK cadres. The public is firmly convinced that the scandal involves both major parties, since everyone knows that illegal funding from Greek and foreign firms has been flowing freely for the past few decades into both parties. Ordinary people believe that everyone is on the take; in their desperation, they curse all 300 parliamentary deputies, lumping them all together with those few who give a bad name to our political system, which was restored and supported by those two same parties after the end of the colonels’ dictatorship. As confusing as the current moral crisis and chaos may be, I believe that, above all, we should keep calm. Secondly, we should avoid the simplistic populism of condemning the entire system because of the unmasking of a few greedy politicians. Thirdly, we should be looking for solutions. Are there any? Can they heal the wounds? I believe so. After all, there have been similar situations in the past that the system has withstood and overcome. Even Harilaos Trikoupis had been accused of receiving funds from a foreign firm. Eleftherios Venizelos almost ended up in court. The United Democratic Left had wanted Constantine Karamanlis to be tried by a special court over financial scandals; Andreas Papandreou was tried and acquitted. I believe this crisis can be overcome if both Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou sit down at the same table and agree to ways to restore the honor of the political system. They are the only ones who can assume that responsibility. Papandreou made his proposals yesterday and I have heard that today or tomorrow Karamanlis will be inviting him to discuss specific measures to eliminate the phenomenon of illegal funding.