Con­fu­sion be­sets gov­ern­ment

Faced with a string of un­re­solved is­sues, coali­tion ap­pears to be at a loss over the way for­ward

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

De­spite a show of con­fi­dence by Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras at the EU-Arab World Sum­mit yes­ter­day re­gard­ing the prospect of Greek debt re­lief be­fore the end of the year, the gov­ern­ment ap­pears to be strug­gling to hold it all to­gether, as it seeks a swift con­clu­sion to the coun­try’s on­go­ing bailout re­view, while des­per­ately try­ing to con­tain the fall­out from its re­cent TV li­cense de­ba­cle, amid the grow­ing dis­il­lu­sion­ment of an ex­hausted elec­torate.

Faced with th­ese un­re­solved is­sues, the gov­ern­ment’s co­he­sion has been tested by its ap­par­ent in­abil­ity to form a uni­fied front to reach con­sen­sus with par­ties of the op­po­si­tion over the con­ven­ing of the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing Coun­cil (ESR). More­over, the gov­ern­ment’s ap­par­ent in­de­ci­sion over the tim­ing of its much-touted cab­i­net reshuf­fle has re­port­edly also an­gered sev­eral min­is­ters.

This sense of dis­ar­ray was fur­ther high­lighted yes­ter­day by Min­is­ter of State Nikos Pap­pas – a close aide of Tsipras – who ap­pears un­able to fall in line with the ef­fort spear­headed by Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis to get an agree­ment be­tween op­po­si­tion par­ties on ESR by Mon­day. Speak­ing to Skai TV, Pap­pas sought to de­fend the TV li­cens­ing law that was shot down as un­con­sti­tu­tional by the Coun­cil of State and raised ten­sions fur­ther by un­leash­ing a new at­tack against New Democ­racy.

This ten­sion was pal­pa­ble later in the day in Par­lia­ment where the gov­ern­ment’s lat­est at­tempt at con­sen­sus failed to bear fruit, after a pro­posed amend­ment did not se­cure the sup­port of the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, ef­fec­tively damp­en­ing hopes of an agree­ment on ESR any­time soon.

In the amend­ment it sub­mit­ted, the gov­ern­ment sought to sus­pend rather than abol­ish a le­gal pro­vi­sion that had trans­ferred the au­thor­ity for con­duct­ing the TV li­cense auc­tion from ESR to Pap­pas.

New Democ­racy and the cen­trist To Po­tami party voted against the amend­ment as they want the pro­vi­sion that put Pap­pas in charge of the auc­tion abol­ished.

The dis­cus­sion of the amend­ment in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day was fre­quently tense with ac­cu­sa­tions fly­ing.

Vout­sis, who is aligned with SYRIZA, said the gov­ern­ment took on cor­rup­tion and vested in­ter­ests with its auc­tion in a way that pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions had not dared.

ND’s Ado­nis Ge­or­giadis ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of try­ing to “cre­ate a coun­cil that is con­trolled by you and to con­trol the broad­cast­ing land­scape.” Con­fus­ing mat­ters, Vout­sis said there should be only three na­tion­wide TV chan­nels, one less than the TV auc­tion had fore­seen.

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