Greed is in the House

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s appeal to uphold moral values is nothing new. The conservative leader made this policy of low-key government a key feature of his campaign in the 2004 elections. The same strategy kept him in power in 2007, despite the terrible aftermath of the devastating forest fires in the summer. Karamanlis’s repeated pledges about «humility,» «sobriety,» «responsibility» and, more recently, his references to «PASOK’s greed for power» belong to a moral, not political framework. Undoubtedly, any mainstream political party is hungry for power not as an end in itself but «for the good of the land and its people.» In this respect, New Democracy and PASOK are hardly different. After all, the government’s readiness to tolerate the so-called misguided ministers is also a sign of greed for power. In fact, the list is long: New Democracy’s readiness to welcome back to the fold deputies who had previously been ousted for their sins; the government’s decision to exit Parliament in order to avoid political damage; its attempt to prevent former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis from being indicted through the use of blank votes; and, of course, its unwillingness to eject a deputy who, as his peers say, would surely end up in court if he did not enjoy parliamentary immunity. Finally, the conservatives’ greed for power was demonstrated by the premature closure of Parliament in a bid to avoid further damage from the burgeoning scandals – a decision which took aback even ND officials. Considering the number of pending issues, Parliament’s sessions should actually have been extended; the early closure only serves to cover up the simmering scandals. Before resigning, former Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis had objected that «whatever is legal is also ethical.» It now seems that the government has turned this into a slogan, disguising its political amoralism beneath a cloak of legitimacy.

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