The­atri­cal an­tics

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

Greece’s Par­lia­ment has a strong the­atri­cal bent. But then again, so does pol­i­tics. The House which hosts the meet­ings of our na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives does not al­ways func­tion as a green­house for fresh ideas. In fact it is usu­ally the bat­tle­ground for fierce con­fronta­tion be­tween the ri­val par­ties aimed at caus­ing a sen­sa­tion among news­pa­per read­ers and tele­vi­sion au­di­ences. Speak­ing in Par­lia­ment late on Tues­day, Greece’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Theodoros Pan­ga­los said that democ­racy in Greece was ef­fec­tively es­tab­lished with PASOK’s ad­vent to power in 1981. A fum­ing Costas Ta­soulas, sec­re­tary for New Democ­racy’s par­lia- men­tary group, left the House along with the other con­ser­va­tive deputies as Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou was try­ing to re­tract the com­ments voiced by his deputy. New Democ­racy MPs even­tu­ally re­turned to their seats, led by their leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, who then made his own scathing re­marks. The prob­lem is not the Greek deputies’ the­atri­cal an­tics. Rather, the prob­lem lies in the fact that the en­tire show was to­tally out of place and time. Sure, Greece’s democ­racy is not de­fined by PASOK’s rise to power in 1981, nor for that mat­ter by Con­stan­tine Kara­man­lis’s re­turn to Greece in 1974. Greece had a democ­racy also be­fore the mil­i­tary coup in April 1967 and it was the demo­cratic coali­tion gov­ern­ments that fought the com­mu­nists dur­ing the coun­try’s civil war. The big prob­lem now is that the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem es­tab­lished af­ter the end of the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship has come full cir­cle. Politi­cians are ques­tioned – even ha­rassed – by the masses, while the prime min­is­ter is com­ing up with all sorts of ways to con­firm the le­git­i­macy of his gov­ern­ment by over­rat­ing the out­come of mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions or by in­ter­pret­ing PASOK deputies’ con­fi­dence vote as a sign of so­cial le­git­i­macy. For a year now, the Pa­pan­dreou ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­tro­duced reg­u­la­tions man­dated by the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors and it plans to vote on a sec­ond mem­o­ran­dum by the end of the month, thereby un­do­ing the eco­nomic sys­tem set up by PASOK so­cial­ists in 1981. How­ever, one can­not ex­pect the politi­cians who cre­ated the eco­nomic mon­ster to kill their cre­ation. There can be no rad­i­cal change in the econ­omy with­out a prior change of the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem – a sys­tem which squab­bles over the emer­gence of democ­racy in Greece. No amount of the­atri­cal im­pro­vi­sa­tion will be enough to save this nation from slip­ping into a dead­lock.

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