Debate on Corruption in Greek Parliament Left Us None the Wiser



Mitso_TsiprIt is obvious why Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called this extraordinary parliamentary session on corruption at a time when everything else in Greece is in shambles. The much-advertised meeting in parliament was nothing more than a smokescreen to divert attention from the real issues.

Not that corruption is not an issue in Greece; it is a major one. Yet, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition is far from a political power that would battle corruption. Barely one year in government and the leftist government is steeped in corruption and clientelism. And every time a scandal of the SYRIZA-ANEL unholy alliance is revealed, their automatic response is, “But the previous governments were involved in bigger scandals.”

Tsipras and his MPs had promised that in this meeting in parliament, all names of people who were involved in scandals would be revealed. People were waiting with bated breath. “Who were those individuals who plundered the state wealth. Who were those barons of corruption?” people were wondering.

Yet, Tsipras spoke for 85 minutes and he only mentioned one name. That of an influential media owner the prime minister himself approached before the January 2015 election, asking him for his support! Just one name, when he had promised to reveal several names.

The prime minister’s speech was a dragging 85 minutes of broad generalizations, unsubstantiated accusations against the opposition, leftist clichés, bold-faced lies and vague promises to the Greek people that his government would put an end to corruption. The fact that he didn’t name the corrupt ones could mean that he wants to strike deals with the corrupt ones himself, if he hasn’t already. There is no other explanation.

Unfortunately for Tsipras, opposition leaders summarized all the scandals and misdemeanors his cabinet were involved in the short period of his administration. Interventions in justice, contracts for public works given to friends and relatives of SYRIZA members, the attempt to control electronic media by appointing a SYRIZA MP responsible for giving out television licenses, undeclared incomes of party MPs, public funds for advertising in government-friendly media, the army of friends and relatives appointed in public positions are just a few of the cases of corruption the self-proclaimed “moral” leftists are involved in.

The only thing that Tsipras managed to get from Tuesday’s “debate on corruption” fiasco in parliament was that the public eye was diverted from the 6 billion euros in additional taxes Greeks have to pay for the state to stay afloat.

Also, the long session made us Greeks forget for a few hours the plight of refugees who are literally living in mud at Idomeni or suffer at Piraeus Port under unhealthy conditions because the great humanitarians of SYRIZA were incapable of having refugee accommodation camps ready on time.