SYRIZA: New Democracy can save the party-political games for the Constitutional Revision

SYRIZA: New Democracy can save the party-political games for the Constitutional Revision

SYRIZA calls on New Democracy to abandon the party-political games and to vote in favor of Article 86 and the election of the President of the Republic.

In July 2016, SYRIZA took the initiative to launch a public debate on the constitutional review, the statement noted. The political context pivotal, but also symbolic; so that the country wakes up the next day to find itself freed from the memoranda and with a new progressive and democratic constitution in 20210.

The main opposition at the time had undermined the initiative. Many did not show any interest to the public consultation. As a government majority, it proves its institutional and political poverty: It does not take on even one of SYRIZA’s proposals. “No to everything”, is the party’s attitude. As if it still serves as main opposition; although the proposals voted in by the previous, first revisional Parliament, form a comprehensive constitutional modernization plan for democratizing politics, expanding rights and restoring political credibility.

Who is it that doesn’t want to rationalize church-state relations? Who insists on preserving constitutional ancestries, such as the prior approval for the translation of the Bible?

Who is it that does not want the enlargement of social rights, the more complete and effective protection of work, health and social security? Who is it that does not want to ban all forms of discrimination against our fellow human beings? Who does not want the introduction of political oaths for all government officials?

Who is it that does not seek active and participatory citizens, who can be heard in national and local referendums; who can be involved in the legislative procedure with their own proposal; who can have a say in the process of granting sovereign rights?

Who is it that does not want an electoral system that is fair and just instead of the galloping monotonies that the old political system used to have for so many years?

Certainly not civil society. It is certain that the great majority of the Greek people want bold reforms in the Constitution and the institutions. New Democracy, however, has chosen not to represent the many, but the few; the big interests. Having failed to secure for them the capitalization of education and the deterioration of environmental protection, it does not care whether a great opportunity will be lost.

Yet party-political selfishness has its limits. The most basic and most granted elements for Greek society constitute institutional challenges that must be won.

This concerns mainly two issues; firstly Article 86 on criminal responsibility of ministers and secondly the election of the President of the Republic, SYRIZA notes.

The current provision for criminal liability of Ministers sets a protective framework that casts doubt on the political world and leads to the depreciation of politics. That shoves a number of cases in the back of the drawer, safeguards the impunity of politicians, and salvages the political system from its responsibility in cases of public money being wasted, that led to the country’s bankruptcy, became a symbol of criminal populism and nurtured the right-wing monster.

As SYRIZA points out, it has been proposed that an interpretative statement is added to the First Revisional Parliament, which clarifies that ministerial offenses do not include those committed solely for the purpose of ministerial duties. And, therefore, that these acts of corruption, especially when it comes to cases of bribing, are prosecuted by Justice, not the Parliament. But it is important to clarify, in order to exclude contradictory interpretive constructions once and for all and to close ‘loopholes’ that some might consider opening. And, above all, to ensure that acts of corruption already committed do not lead to impunity.

The refusal of New Democracy to incorporate this basic and self-evident clause into the Constitution will, with the responsibility of government members, turn out to be a severe blow to the political system, the main opposition stresses. It adds that the Greek political system has a heavy responsibility to restore its dignity; it is also to rise to the occasion.

As for the election of the President, SYRIZA notes that the political system consents, in response to the clear demand of Greek society, to the independence of the President of the Republic from the dissolution of the Parliament and the call for early elections. But it is certain that Greek society does not want this to be done at the expense of the President’s regulatory, unifying and symbolic role. No Greek wants the President of the Republic to degenerate into a party chief, since the President, according to New Democracy’s proposal, can even be elected by a minority of representatives of the national delegation, SYRIZA concludes. /ibna