Complete failure

George Papandreou was elected prime minister by a 10-percent margin because he provided hope. Just two days ago, however, he took it away, announcing a salary freeze in the public sector and laying an ax to the neck of the social security system. The credibility of PASOK and of Papandreou was crushed under international market pressure in one fell swoop. The conservative New Democracy party and far-right LAOS gave the government their support on the fiscal reform process but whether there will be any strong reaction from the public is a question that remains open. It is unlikely that we will see the kind of backlash experienced in the 1960s, as this normally takes place under conservative administrations. The only thing left, therefore, is for PASOK’s credibility to keep falling and for the political system to lose even more ground, because what we have surmised from the parties in Parliament, from the announcements and statements, is that the political system has failed miserably at its single most important task of the present day: making Greece a successful member of the European Union and the eurozone. Public debt has soared to such heights because, for the past 30 years, a succession of administrations has squandered EU funds and the public sector is overstaffed because politicians appointed more people than needed. But there is no self-criticism, no remorse, just finger-pointing at rival administrations. It is difficult to own up to such immense failure. Meanwhile, in what can only be seen as a sure-fire way to undermine the political system even further, the premiere announced sizable cuts to ministry expenses and a mere 1.75 percent reduction in Parliament’s budget. Sure, as citizens we have a duty to accept the measures that are necessary to set the economy back on its feet. But it is also the duty of the political system as a whole to make equal, if not greater, sacrifices.

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