Editorial: A blackmailed Prime Minister is not a Prime Minister!

If a prolongation of the government’s term is pursued with dubious means, it will ineluctably lead to a debasement of parliamentary procedures and of the Republic.

Ο πρόεδρος των ΑΝΕΛ Πάνος Καμμένος μιλάει στη συζήτηση στην Ολομέλεια της Βουλής για παροχή ψήφου εμπιστοσύνης προς την κυβέρνηση, Τετάρτη 16 Ιανουαρίου 2019. Η συζήτηση θα ολοκληρωθεί με ονομαστική ψηφοφορία το βράδυ της Τετάρτης. ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΟΛΕΣΙΔΗΣ

For days now and since the confidence vote and the ratification of the Prespa Agreement, the government, the political system, and by extension the entire country are faced with a “pending institutional issue” and have been thrust into a peculiar captivity.

Parliamentary majorities were secured ad hoc and based on bargaining and understandings motivated by entirely self-interested criteria at worst and for purely personal reasons at best.

SYRIZA has 145 MPs and consequently on each vote it needs six more MPs (including some of the many independent MPs) to constitute an absolute parliamentary majority.

Most analysts view the entire operation as absolutely problematical.

It was underscored from the start that this entire situation cannot last long and that if a prolongation of the government’s term is pursued in this manner, it will ineluctably lead to a debasement of parliamentary procedures and of the Republic.

Each vote will permit the large number of MPs who are either independents or members of floundering parties to bargain and blackmail over their every parliamentary vote.

That is precisely what happened. The first parliamentary bill that came to a vote produced degenerative phenomena. The leader of the Independent Greeks and until recently ruling coalition junior partner used the “free” vote of a borrowed MP (who said he was in the toilet when the vote was held) in order to blackmail the government to change parliamentary rules so his decimated party can retain its parliamentary privileges. The MP’s absence initially deprived the government of its majority and was considered a warning shot.

To up the ante, the Independent Greeks’ leader disseminated toxic rumours and manufactured outlandish “dragons” from the days of his odd partnership with PM Alexis Tsipras, in an obvious effort to directly blackmail the Prime Minister.

Automatically in this unhealthy climate a similar demand was tabled by another party which was wounded politically by the recent, contentious parliamentary votes.

Moreover, an MP who had announced his intention to resign was asked to put it off until a solution could be found to satisfy the former defence minister and ex-coalition partner. Meanwhile, another MP who had transferred to the ruling party became critical and she also unleashed threats.

By all appearances, in the coming days we shall see more pathetic incidents that degrade and sink parliamentary institutions and procedures and drag the entire state into a cesspool of blackmail and backroom deals.

A Prime Minister who is being blackmailed is no Prime Minister, and a government being blackmailed cannot carry on without repercussions for the country.

It is clear that any attempt to manage these problematical circumstances with a view to extending the life of this handicapped (from the parliamentary point of view) government will further aggravate tense political conditions and will only bring harm or worse.

Things have been judged and electoral balances have more or less determined. They will not change with one or two draft laws or with two or three more benefits or minor arrangements.
Those who think that with their supposedly grandiose interventions they will change the course of approaching events are only fooling themselves.

Because in our peculiar country there is an underlying current of political instability it would be best to come to a radical and clear solution now.

That can be provided only by the sovereign Greek people.

Mr. Tsipras no longer has any other choice.

Let the procedures involving this national issue be completed as planned so that we do not become even more exposed in the international community.

Then the PM should immediately call early elections.

The extension of this “pending institutional issue” will only bring ills upon us.

Helios Kiosk