Par­lia­men­tary squab­bling

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY MARIA KATSOUNAKI

On the morn­ing of July 13, the Greek gov­ern­ment signed a third bailout with in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors, bring­ing re­lief and en­sur­ing the coun­try’s place in the eu­ro­zone. It was as though we were re­cov­er­ing from some ter­ri­ble ill­ness that made its ap­pear­ance at the start of the sum­mer or that we had man­aged to avoid a fa­tal col­li­sion. A few days later, Par­lia­ment adopted the sec­ond pack­age of prior ac­tion with 230 “yes” votes from its 300 MPs. This very brief look back at the dra­matic sum­mer that just passed helps not just to jog our mem­o­ries but also to judge de­vel­op­ments. There was a mo­ment there when we saw a Par­lia­ment that was – al­beit grudg­ingly – work­ing to­gether. Now we are back to the all too fa­mil­iar phe­nom­e­non of a Par­lia­ment in a state of de­nial and dishar­mony. We have had to live with such a Par­lia­ment for years. From MPs de­mand­ing that the prime min­is­ter do every­thing in his power to en­sure Greece re­mains in the euro and in the hard core of Europe, we are now, just a few months later, hear­ing MPs say­ing that the gov­ern­ment should vote for its own so­cially harm­ful mea­sures alone (New Democ­racy) and threat­ing that all bills will be re­jected (PA­SOK) be­cause the prime min­is­ter is on the road to fail­ure and is look­ing for naive con­spir­a­tors to take down with him. No one can ar- gue with the two op­po­si­tion par­ties. The sit­u­a­tion is ex­actly as they de­scribe it. The ig­no­rance and op­por­tunism of the SYRIZA-In­de­pen­dent Greeks coali­tion gov­ern­ment pushed the coun­try to en­dure dev­as­tat­ing cap­i­tal con­trols and col­lapse. How, though, can the next step be taken, a solid step in the right di­rec­tion, if the op­po­si­tion lim­its it­self ex­clu­sively to self-serv­ing de­nial? No, the tough times are not over, as Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras tried to as­sure dur­ing his visit to the United States fol­low­ing his re-elec­tion, where he spoke about sta­bil­ity and growth. Yet the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem as a whole is be­hav­ing as though we are firmly on the path to nor­malcy and the par­ties be­lieve that they can re­turn to their tried-andtrue roles, where the only pri­or­ity is the sur­vival of the party. In­ter-party squab­bling and vote­mon­ger­ing have once more be­come the or­der of the day. But the struc­tural re­forms that are pend­ing must clearly be im­ple­mented. Yes, ob­vi­ously SYRIZA is re­spon­si­ble for the tax avalanche that is about to crush us. How­ever, in­stead of say­ing no to every­thing, New Democ­racy and PA­SOK could of­fer coun­ter­pro­pos­als or al­ter­na­tive mea­sures. If Par­lia­ment doesn’t get its act to­gether and start think­ing in uni­son, we are in for dark days ahead.

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