CITIZEN MOBILISATION – THE ONLY WAY OUT OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

Opinion poll results published recently are disappointing, because they show that more than 1/3 of the Greek citizens are disengaged from politics! Even worse, a big part of the remaining population has a negative opinion of those involved in politics! It is true that all of us, some more and some less, have seen our incomes shrink during the past ten years of the crisis, however, income reduction alone cannot bring the necessary changes and economic recovery. We need to act, so that we can bring about a new model of governance. A way out of the financial crisis and sovereignty of the people can only be achieved if citizens are actively engaged in the political life of the country.

It is understandable that at the beginning of the crisis Greek citizens disengaged from political life, because then their priority was to deal immediately with their new needs, personal, family and otherwise, due to the harsh new financial measures that were imposed. It is certain that for the Greek economy to rebound, we need a new model of political governance, one which will be put forward by those well-informed citizens who understand the real causes of the financial crisis. As we analyse the situation, we tend to conclude that the main cause of the crisis is the fact that in the past, both politicians and citizens, focused on their own narrow personal interests. The electorate voted for politicians who they throught could promote their own personal, family or sectional interests.

The starting point for the mobilisation of the citizens and their joint action towards implementing a new form of political governance has to be the firm commitment to our institutional texts. The Constitution and the imprelementation of its institutional rules are the basis on which we must build a new model of political governance, without the weaknesses of the past political system. In order for the institutional rules to be implemented correctly, we need to differentiate between the three sorts of power: legislative, executive and judiciary. This traditional threefold division of power should not be circumvented due to vague laws. However, what happens in practice is that the common legislator (i.e. the executive power) weakens this division of power, by submitting to the Parliament bills and passing them, because they hold the majority of seats. This affects the democratic functioning of the state and has many negative consequences, such as the present economic crisis. We should reflect on whether the weakening of the powers of the President of the democracy has contributed to the economic crisis. This amendment occurred in 1985 , after revision of the relevant Constitution passage of 1975, and in effect it changed our form of government from presidential democracy to giving absolute power to the prime-minister. Therefore, we no longer have a safeguard to government arbitrariness, and this can lead the country to impasses, such as the long-term economic crisis, which we are presently experiencing.

The lack of credibility of the Greek model of political governance, which is reflected in the opinion polls, and the resulting disengagement of the citizens from the political life of their country are closely related to the many promises given by various political parties. These promises can never be kept due to the present poor financial situation of Greece. Politicians need to have principles, to think very carefully before they give promises and to follow a personal “self-cleansing” process. Once all these are put in place, solid institutional commitments between politicians and citizens can be implemented, as they have been clearly defined in the 1975 Constitution. The effective application of the institutional rules means that all vague laws which favour politicians or specific groups of people, but not society as a whole, need to be discarded. It is through this kind of favouritist laws that public finances are burdened, resulting in heavy taxation of the Greek citizens, who have been suffering for a long time now from high taxation.

We are in an important pre-election period. Within the year 2019 we will have three elections: elections to the Greek Parliament, elections to the European Parliament and municipal elections. We will have the chance to reflect and vote strategically, so that we will elect a truly democratic government. The votes of conscious citizens are those which can build the solid social and financial frame of the next decade. If we continue to focus on narrow personal interests and vote in a selfish way, it is possible that the ensuing ills will be worse than the ones we are presently experiencing. If, however, we mobilise, we act jointly and we vote for the common good, we will not again experience the ills of the present decade. The future of our country is in the hands of its conscious electorate.

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