Government in a national crisis–Greece

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Alexis Papachelas is a guest editorial writer to The Business Thinker. He is currently the Executive Editor of the long standing and highly respected daily Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”. There are certain behaviors that simply drive you crazy, especially at a time when the country is on the brink of disaster. It’s maddening, for instance, to see the ease with which a number of fellow politicians criticize the likes of Giorgos Papaconstantinou, Michalis Chrysochoidis, Yiannis Ragousis, Andreas Loverdos and Dimitris Reppas, among others.

What airs some of them adopt when stating that they have been politicians for 30 years and “they know.” But who cares if someone has been a MP or a minister for 30 or 60 years? What has their legacy been other than political favors, appointments and intrigues? Do they feel successful because they spread the joy to friends and voters with borrowed money, without ever being held accountable?

It is so easy and convenient to sit back doing nothing and criticizing those who are hard at work because others didn’t do what they should have done when they should have done it. Even more annoying is the arrogance of some of PASOK’s “old boys,” who are trying to convince the rest of us that they know how to take care of the dirty work. They showed their stripes when they were in charge of appointing hospital managers and instead sent their cronies and the deadweights of the party to those posts.

Then there are the egos. The country is drowning and some of these guys refuse to sit at the same table with the others or openly ignore decisions taken by the prime minister and Parliament. Don’t they get it? Cheap populism will not save them, neither will their overinflated egos. There is absolutely no room for this kind of behavior; they need to get this, loud and clear.

Finally, there’s also the prime minister’s infuriating dedication to certain newcomers, people he picked out of nowhere, who have no prior experience and who are behaving like royalty, with their own opinions and the right to veto government decisions, without actually producing anything in return.

This is another kind of selfishness: being constantly anxious about not upsetting prince X or Y, while keeping people like Alekos Papadopoulos and Giorgos Floridis away from government. None of this would matter if something vital wasn’t missing from the current political equation: a powerful prime minister who would crush egos and inane whining, who would openly support the hard workers and dismiss the laggards or those undermining his policies. We need a premier who can deal with the fact that some of the boys are only cut out for carrying his briefcase, not a ministry during a national emergency.

Alexis Papachelas is the Executive Editor of the long standing and highly respected daily Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”. He is the creator and principal presenter of the weekly news program “The New Files” aired in Greece for 10 consecutive seasons. He has been awarded a number of distinctions both on his broadcast as well as his print contributions.  He studied History, International Relations and Journalism at Bard College and Columbia University in the United States.Papachelas is the author of the books “The Rape of Greek Democracy” (1997) and “File November 17” (2002).

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