MPs must answer to the law

The recent claims concerning former Minister of the Aegean Aristotelis Pavlidis’s involvement in the blackmailing of a shipowner have relaunched the debate concerning accountability before the law for ministers, more generally, and brings into question the current law stating that all members of Parliament are immune from prosecution. The biggest mistake about this law, initially created to ensure the smooth running of government and to protect MPs from frivolous lawsuits, is that it has created a different set of standards for citizens, on the one hand, and politicians, on the other. It is inequitable and justifiably rankles public opinion. More importantly, this law can serve and has served as a vessel through which the government has had its hands tied by the private interests of MPs, interests that are not necessarily in concert with government policy nor with the national interest. This status quo of separate measures for the common folk and for politicians needs to change as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to return some credibility to the political system.

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