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Laws in Greece are not observed and the first ones in the list of violators are the governors

07 March 2012 / 20:03:48  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova


Institutions and lawlessness. In general, these two words should be mutually exclusive or at least quite rarely be mentioned together. In the case of Greece, however, this seems impossible, at least at the present time.

This was the general conclusion that united the speakers at the open discussion on "Quality of the Institutions and Lawlessness," which was organized by the Hellenic Foundation for European and International affairs, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, the consulting agency Kantor, the organization "Civil Movement" and the Greek branch of "Transparency International".

According to participants in the discussion although the legal framework in Greece is quite modern and of relatively good quality, the laws are not applied. They believe that this is due mainly to lack of political will by the political leadership as well as the lack of legitimacy of the government.

The president of the Greek branch of the international organization "Transparency International", Costas Bakouris, presented the results of the research conducted in 2011 aiming at evaluation of the 12 institutions - "poles" of Greek society in terms of preventing and combating corruption. The research revealed serious weaknesses in the functions of justice, the executive power, the companies and institutions involved in combating corruption. Costas Bakouris stressed the need for substantial support in order for a structure of integrity to be established in Greece. "The foundations of Greek society are in an economic crisis and a crisis of values, the credibility of the authorities is questioned and institutions are "shaken", not because of lack of legal framework, but mostly because the laws are not applied", he said.

According to the professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Athens, Nikos Alivizatos, law enforcement and the functioning of the institutions in general depend very much on the legitimacy of the people with power and on the determination of those who are entrusted with the task to implement them without exception. "I've always found it very difficult to explain to my foreign colleagues and to citizens of other countries in general, how can laws not be applied. Their violation in Greece starts from the highest echelons of power. Even in our constitution there are regulations which are never applied and which remain only on paper", said the professor, adding that this will not change unless changes are made in society starting from the top down.

"I must tell you that today I am not in particularly good shape, because I am a victim of the non-compliance with the laws", said the famous journalist Stavros Theodorakis hoarsely. He said that a few days ago he had been in Thessaloniki to shoot another episode of his television show. "There was not a single restaurant, cafeteria or any other premises where people were not smoking. When I asked whether there was a restaurant in which the law against smoking in public places was observed, they answered that I should go to look for such a place in Germany, with Angela Merkel. Well, in a few days the tobacco smoke of half of Thessaloniki passed through my lungs and because I'm allergic to it, I am suffering from the results". The journalist gave as an example of the complete disregard of the laws also the withdrawal of the unanimous decision of the municipal council to build a centre for cremation in the village of Markopoulo next to Athens, because of the negative reaction of the Church. "I'm not a lawyer and I've created my own idea of ​​the difference between lawlessness and offence. I think that both phenomena are the result of the incompetence of the politicians and the lack of will on their part to look at the European reality and perspective."

Sociologist George Siakandaris described the political aspects of the problem giving the example of the refusal of the political parties to enforce the laws. "When the Communist Party used the slogan "the right of the worker is the law", it practically refused to accept the modern values ​​such as representative democracy and the social contract. On the other hand the failure of the state to apply the law, stems from the fact that even the state itself does not fully accept rules for law enforcement, i.e. the rules of democracy. The reason for this is "political price".

The Professor in the Department of "Culture and Communication at the University of Athens Vassilis Karapostolis analysed the difficulty of the Greek society to accept the hierarchical relations and as a result the orders of the leaders to their subordinates. The reason for this is the confusion of what "should" be done with what "I want to be done" and priority is given to the second. In practice this means that subordinates do not execute the orders of their superiors, which they consider to be a subjective intent of exercising their privilege to give orders. According to Professor Karapostolis, the main problem of the leadership in Greece lies precisely in this. It is due largely to the fact that the government has failed to convince the citizens of the correctness of their orders.

Tags: politics society institutions lawlessness political will
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