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With its new ministers Greece returns to clientelism

10 June 2014 / 15:06:55  GRReporter
3496 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The new composition of the Greek cabinet is still the main topic in the Greek traditional and social media. The appointment of Gikas Hardouvelis as Minister of Finance has undoubtedly allowed many Greeks to heave a sigh of relief since his appointment means continuation of the policy that has been so far pursued in this sector.

On the other hand, commentators define as adverse the replacements of key ministers, being particularly critical towards the removal from office of former Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis and Minister of Development Kostis Hatzidakis. According to them, the new additions to the cabinet are not new figures but representatives of the worst part of the political system, which has led Greece to the severe crisis which it is experiencing even to this day.

GRReporter has filtered out the comments of some leading analysts of the political and economic situation in the country.

"The cabinet reshuffling has one purpose, namely to convince the few naive persons left that the people who have brought us to a catastrophic state with their populism, applied the memorandum in the worst possible way (in comparison with Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus), not allowing the implementation of any real reform will never change. Their only ambition is to return to the clientelist past. They do not understand anything else, do not know anything else and do not have other ambition other than their own political survival. They will do everything possible to implement it. Their political shortsightedness, however, is so great that, when they (finally) leave politics, they will blame the Greek people for not appreciating their patriotic work. Unfortunately, the end of this work will not be happy. Very soon they will be replaced by their bad copies and the last phase of recovering the democratic order in the country (the period after the end of the military junta in 1974 – author’s note) will continue as an endless nightmare," comments Aristidis Hadzis, associate professor of law philosophy and theory of institutions at Athens University.

"The reshuffling of retreat" is the title of the commentary by journalist Kostas Stoupas on the online edition, who writes,

"The government is thus trying to respond to the message that voters sent through their votes and the opposition is trying to respond to it through an attempt to create an image of a coming government.

The change in the composition of the cabinet can insignificantly affect the country which, along with its core, the state administration, is totally ungovernable.

Regardless of the skills and recognition of the new Minister of Finance, when he will be faced with the brooms of the cleaning ladies or with the trade unionists, millionaires and present members of SYRIZA with speakers in hand, he will understand that he is not able to change even the places of waste bins in the Ministry of Finance. Unfortunately, the reform in the ministry started with the cleaning ladies rather than with those employees who have transgressed their duties and who are a majority.

I wish my judgment were wrong...

The conclusion continues to be that Greece remains an ungovernable state in which the cabinet reshuffling cannot lead to even a minimal improvement. In fact, it is a turn, on the part of the government, to party functionaries who represent the "deepest" clientelistic mechanism of the two ruling parties (New Democracy and PASOK – author’s note).

It shows the presence of concerns about early elections and the inability to agree upon a plan to push for reforms that could be the beginning of the country's emergence from the crisis and the Balkan backwardness.

On 21 November 2013 I wrote about how economic circles and trade unions were stealing government money through medicine prices and my comment then was, "The party, corporate and clientelist state and the trade-union para-state that is governing along with it bear the greatest responsibility for Greece’s bankruptcy. The responsibility of state-funded enterprises that are draining the state through the taxes paid by the Greek citizens is significant too.

However, the rules in an economy and society, and therefore in business, are always set by the state. It supports the state-owned enterprises to control the economy but also to allow the public functionaries to benefit from the corruption in them.

The situation in the pharmaceutical sector shows some of those who are affected by the implementation of the memorandum. And they are not just the people whose pensions and public sector wages have been cut.

This is about a system in which some eat "fillet" while the others make do with "bones."

The reactions of all participants in the system against the Minister of Health are indicative of the interests involved."

The analysis of political scientist Plamen Tonchev whom GRReporter readers know very well reveals the tactics of the ruling parties, which predetermined the choice of new ministers.

"The central figure in this reshuffling, namely Minister of Finance Gikas Hardouvelis, is a continuer of the policy of Yiannis Stournaras. The surprise due to the announcement of his name had the sole purpose of satisfying the PR needs of the government. In practice, there is no change in the strict fiscal policy that the government is obliged to pursue. The work of the new Minister of Finance will relate mainly to the expected negotiations on the sustainability of the public debt.

Tags: PoliticsCabinet reshufflingNew ministersGikas HardouvelisReformsClientelism
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