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  • Editorial: Crime and punishment

    There are unpardonable aspects of the government’s record relating to its handling of institutions that are the pillars of democracy.

    Ο πρωθυπουργός Αλέξης Τσίπρας (Δ) και ο αναπληρωτής υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης Δημήτρης Παπαγγελόπουλος (Α) παρίστανται στην Ολομέλεια της Βουλής στη συζήτηση προ ημερησίας διατάξεως σε επίπεδο Αρχηγών Κομμάτων, με αποκλειστικό θέμα τα φαινόμενα διαπλοκής και διαφθοράς και την επιρροή τους στο θεσμικό και πολιτικό σύστημα της χώρας και την αντιμετώπισή τους, Αθήνα, τη Δευτέρα 10 Οκτωβρίου 2016. ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΣΥΜΕΛΑ ΠΑΝΤΖΑΡΤΖΗ

    There is much for which one might blame the outgoing government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    Exaggerations, miscalculations, fixations, and deficiencies were par for the course.

    If one were to be lenient one might accept that it shouldered a heavy burden and political cost and understand that the poor results of its policies were due to the inexperience, ideological fixations, and dogmatism that determined the stance of its ministers.

    However, there are unpardonable aspects of the government’s record relating to its handling of institutions that are the pillars of democracy.

    During Mr. Tsipras’ term in office the judiciary, independent authorities, public administration, and more recently local government (which is confronting a quagmire due to the government’s introduction of direct proportional representation) have all suffered.

    The government over the last four years constantly and unabashedly intervened in the institutional operation of the state.

    It has been proven that the judiciary was used as a tool. High Court judges were manipulated and prosecutors were forced to or simply agreed to serve devious aims.

    Following the public accusations of a serving Supreme Court deputy prosecutor it appears that cases were manufactured and set up.

    Public servants, police top brass, and Coast Guard officers violated their oath and participated in the manufacturing of criminal cases and guilty parties.

    As a result, plain citizens and politicians faced groundless charges and were maligned without hesitation or reservation simply in order to serve unbelievable political ulterior motives and aspirations.

    As former Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said some days ago, “The judiciary is the top victim of the past period. Over the last years, the predominance of lies, vulgarity, and new forms of corrupt vested interests were the order of the day. From the building of vested interests we ended up with the establishment of gangs.”

    In other words, the prestige of institutions was battered and the rule of law was shaken.

    The restoration of the rule of law and of the authority of the judiciary must be the top objective of the next government.

    The first step in that direction must be the revelation of illegal actions and the public denunciation of perfidious practices.

    This is not a matter of revanchism or vengefulness on the part of those who have been maligned, but rather an issue of restoring truth and averting similar situations in the future.

    Everyone must understand that the abuse of power is impermissible and unjustifiable in a democracy.

    Everyone must acknowledge that using institution as a tool to serve particular political or other interests is illegal and that it shakes and undermines democracy.

    Greece has paid dearly in the past for such conspiratorial practices and it cannot tolerate or sweep them aside.

    The revelation and public denunciation of such practices are absolutely necessary in order to avert such anti-democratic practices in the future.

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