Harris Ikonomopoulos

Copyright: Harris Ikonomopoulos on line

The majority of people in Greece today realize that the country's core problem is the absence of governing -- whether there is a government in place or not.

The recent first round of the French elections resulted in vote tallies very similar to those scored by Greek political parties in the May 6 election. The key difference though between France and Greece  is that the former had a government in place following its second round of elections, two weeks after the first, while Greece still lingers in a political vacuum as its political parties quarrel over who can form a government. Imagine the instability and the panic in France itself and across Europe if the French were to emulate the Greeks. But France possesses a firm political system that provides administrations of steady life cycles, while Greece has nothing of the kind.

Greece's system of electing governments is dominated by political alchemy and electoral laws designed according to the whims of the party that happens to hold the preponderance at the time any given electoral law is enacted. The current such law, for example, rewards right out of the gate the party capturing the most votes with 50 seats, out of the 300 of the Greek parliament, as a "bonus" that ostensibly aims at producing strong majority administrations. It takes no deep understanding of electoral systems for one to see that the "bonus" is both unconstitutional and a naked attempt by the Greek "system" to distort the will of the electorate.

It thus becomes clear that any discussion about reconstructing the Greek economy and stimulating outside investment must center on ways to correct this system of "electing" governments for the sake of dynastic politicians and not the country as a whole.  How to correct the distortions generated by an open attempt to help the bigger Greek political parties to dominate political life, by barring the growth of alternative political organizations and the rise of true pluralism, must be addressed urgently as the strategic question at the root of the current Greek disarray.

During 168 years of constitutional government, the modern Greek state has gone through 200 administrations, four national catastrophes, and five bankruptcies, including the one at present. Only  eight of these administrations that completed 3 to 4 years in power. Meantime, and despite 34 separate laws, among others, aiming to expedite the operation of the courts -- not to mention, God knows, how many bills aiming at correcting the overcrowding in prisons -- we still have a system of justice that is neither fast nor effective plus an insufficient corrections system.

The requisite constitutional correction must be expedited through a referendum, the single most genuine expression of the public's will. A referendum can be held simultaneously with the next elections, whenever these occur, and it must aim at forming a majority consensus on the question at hand. Both the referendum and the elections must be carried out without the state shutting down, as it usually does en route to an election, so administrative action continues and the necessary fiscal measures aren't interrupted.

Arriving quickly at a government of the best, not the worst, a government with political selflessness and national and European orientation, is the precondition for any growth and a matter of life and death under the present circumstances.

We need a government that will translate every useful measure and all necessary institutional corrections into action without delay. Of course, in order for this government to establish credibility, it must commit itself to sending its members back to their routine occupations once its mandate expires and the job has been completed within a specific, urgent time frame that will be observed without fail.

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