Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, addressing the Parliament at the end of the parliamentary process regarding the Constitutional revision, gave an insight on how he is planning to politically approach the issue of the election of the President of the Republic.
Basically, what Mr. Mitsotakis did was to raise an issue of party discipline – something he had not done as an MP – when he had voted against Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Addressing the Head of SYRIZA, he asked: “Do you really believe, Mr. Tsipras, that there can be a government with absolute majority that elects the President of the Republic by a relative majority and be able to stand here, in this Parliament, the next day?”. This was a message by Kyriakos Mitsotakis to his own party’s Members, for whom it is already being said that they will finally vote on his proposal, because in the event that he gets less than 150 votes then the government will fall. In particular, it was a message to New Democracy’s supporters of Antonis Samaras, which of course wish for the former prime minister to be “whom the party endorses”; some of them have falsely hinched that they will not follow the proposal of their party’s president if they disagree with it.
Apart from that, Mr. Mitsotakis during his speech tried to get across the mark his governance has left, by saying: “… Of course, the Constitution alone is not responsible for the economic imbalance. Nor can any constitution guarantee prosperity. However, the constitution that will come into force tomorrow, even without the extent we would like, emits a message of modernization”.
At the same time Mr. Mitsotakis presented the amendment of the provision for the vote of Greeks abroad – he will submit the relevant bill within the next few days. He also highlighted “our proposal for the constitutional safeguarding of the Guaranteed Minimum Income. It comprises a firm commitment that the state will ensure that every citizen is granted a decent living”. He even addressed the question to Alexis Tsipras: “why aren’t you voting in favor of our Guaranteed Minimum Income proposal today? I hope you do, after all”.
He also underlined the “limiting of impunity for the Members of Parliament only to acts relating to their political activity; and the abolition of the time-limit for the ministers to be held accountable, so that the Parliament can proceed with the prosecution within the time framework of the statue of limitations on any offense”, but without explaining the party’s refusal to accept SYRIZA’s proposal for its interpretative statement Article 86, in order to prevent offenses such as bribery “committed within the exercise of ministerial duties”, a point on which the main opposition insists. He also said that “our parliamentary group has incorporated in its final proposal the “people’s legislative initiative” proposed by the main opposition. We have agreed that the signatures of 500,000 citizens with the right to vote will constitute the threshold that leads to the submission of proposals, which will be compulsorily debated in Parliament”.
Other than that, the prime minister’s speech mainly focused on the attack on SYRIZA regarding its decisions while it served as government. Ultimately, the fact that a total of 9 provisions will be revised which, except for the election of the President of the Republic so as elections will not be held, are of minor importance, is proof of the relative poverty of this process of Constitutional Revision. Furthermore, it is indicative of the strongly contrasting direction each party wanted to pursue regarding this revision, as well as of their mutual exclusion, since the process began with the first left government and ended with the first neoliberal one. /ibna