Posts tagged ‘greek government’

All the President’s women…

(An old post that was never ….posted. Personal issues kept me away but today, seeing the attack on two of the President’s women I have decided to post it without corrections but with some additions. Hope you all had a good Easter holiday )

First of February: Athens is covered in an off white sandy veil. The miniature sand storm comes from Africa and it visits Greece regularly three or four times a year.

It is customary to wish each other “Kalo mina” – Happy new month – at the beginning of every month. This month the wish has a special meaning.

The new Greek government is a fact. Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has won the elections and managed to form a government allying itself with right wing Independent Greeks party.

The composition of the government has been analysed according to the media’s assessment of each Minister’s news worthiness. Mr. Yannis Varoufakis, for example, has appeared on the BBC, Alexis Tsipras on every other tv station and/or newspaper. I want to speak about the members of the new government who have not reached tv star status.

zoi-konstantopoulouFirst of all in a 41 person government I counted 6 women plus the new Parliament Chairwoman, Ms. Zoe Konstantopoulou. Ms. Kostantopoulou is the daughter of a very prominent attorney (he was one of the judges in the Greek junta trial) and popular political figure, Nicos Konstantopoulos who headed Synaspismos, the major component of SYRIZA, from 1993 to 2004. Ms Zoe Konstantopoulou a well known lawyer in her own right has become famous for her spirited spats with opposition MPs during her first four years in Parliament. Everyone looks forward to her handling of her new post.

valavaniMs. Nantia Valavani, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finances, is a graduate of the Economics University of Athens and holds a doctorate from the Communication and Mass Media dpt of the same University. Ms.Valavani combines the abilities of a competent economist with the sensitivity of a literary critic: she is one of the most prominent Bertolt Brecht scholars. Born in 1954 she took part in the anti-dictatorship resistance originally in her native Crete and later, as a student in Athens where she was arrested and imprisoned for months.

Tasia Christodoulopoulou, Deputy Minister for immigration, is a prominent lawyer and human rights activist.xristodoulopoulou

Five causes for resistance and solidarity in Greece today

We need to resist the totalitarian attitude of the Greek government who, in the name of an elusive “development” has started a war against anyone who disagrees with its measures. We need to express our solidarity and support to the many people suffering by this attitude.

  1. A modern Bethlehem has been set up in Syntagma Square: Syrian refugees, among them children and one pregnant woman, have started a hunger strike to be given traveling documents to reach other parts of Europe. A SYRIZA MP has expressed his decision to join them.
Syrian refugees on hunger strike

Syrian refugees on hunger strike

 

  1. Nicos Romanos, a 20+ armed robbery convict, has passed his University Entrance Exams while in prison but is being refused permission to attend classes. He is on hunger strike for over two weeks now and his health is in danger. Romanos first came to the limelight because he was with Alexis Grigoropoulos the night he was shot and killed by a riot policeman. In spite of the police efforts there is no proof that the young man was ever involved in terrorist activities.
Nikos Romanos at the time of his arrest

Nikos Romanos at the time of his arrest

  1. In Northern Greece the attacks on environment and on the populace trying to protect it continue. Largely ignored by the mainstream media the resistance of the people of Chalkidiki goes on.
Skouries demonstration

Skouries demonstration

  1. Police brutality is on the increase. After the uncalled attacks on the Disabled people’s demonstration last week there was further proof of it last night.

young girl attacked

  1. A trainer in the police Academy has come forward andstated that while teaching one of the cadets stated “I am a fascist and proud of it”. The most disturbing feature of the incident is that it was applauded by the rest of the class.

The bet for Greek society is how to resist efficiently, how to stand next to the suffering citizens without taking away their dignity.

One example by the newly elected regional government: Ms. Rena Dourou suggested to the Minister for Interior Affairs Mr.Dinopoulos to use 2.5 billion marked for festive activities to re-electrify poor households in their area. The proposal had been put forth by the audience in a popular tv show and became a reality. We could do more

Greek autumn panorama

The song that best fits this year’s autumn is “it’s raining taxes”!!

While the weather is being most charitable, few showers and enough chill to make the sunshine very welcome, our government is playing hide and seek with our nerves. It’s pouring taxes on the Greek public. This is something we are used to in recent years… The most annoying thing this time is the inconsistency: taxes are imposed to be retracted because the calculation is wrong, deadlines are announced to be cancelled within a week, the number of installments are changed weekly and so on… This at a time when citizens’ trust to politicians has reached below zero temperature and with good reason.. 

 

Polls show a steep rise for SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left), the major opposition party, and the government’s react ion was to ask for a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The government got the go ahead by the Parliament with 155 votes. The opposition is asking for early elections while P.M. A. Samaras assures us of recovery.

A most confusing time as you understand.

If you add the international situation in our area it is a good thing that life carries on as usual. Visitors to Greece often wonder by the amount of people having coffee and even the sheer amount of coffee shops. I believe that this continuous contact with other people, relatives, friends, acquaintances and the solidarity among us, the plain people, is what keeps us sane and smiling.

Tsipras probe into submarines deal “shakes” the unity of the two–party Greek government

ÓÕÍÁÍÔÇÓÇ ÁËÅÎÇ ÔÓÉÐÑÁ ÓÔÇ ÃÓÅÂÅÅ

Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA President, announced his intention to ask for a probe into a submarine deal signed in 2010 and which he claims has “an aroma of scandal”. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, present Chairman of PASOK and vice-chairman of the present Greek government was the minister of defence when the disputed deal was signed.

The bad feeling between Venizelos and Minister of Defence Avramopoulos resulted from the latter’s reply to Tsipras that this government has nothing to fear and that whatever “underhanded business” is of an earlier date.

Venizelos took this as a personal affront from Avramopoulos and replied, during the Parliament discussion that ensued, that it is not  a Minister’s job  to” describe situations. Neither are they there to play the good guy to the opposition but to bear responsibility and bring results”.

Venizelos-Avramopoulos-400x266

The Prime Minister’s office took no sides and in spite of Avramopoulos’ clarification that he was referring to the Tsohatzopoulos’case,  Venizelos continues to feed the feud. The PASOK press office released to day a letter sent to Avramopoulos the day before the Parliamentary discussion giving him “directions” on how to deal with Tsipras accusations.

Social winter threatens our summer

 

 

While a large number of Greeks is preparing for their summer holidays there is no shortage of bad news to take along.

The shutting down of ERT (Greek Radio and Television public broadcasting company) which shook Greek society in an unexpected way-is followed by the dismantling of the Municipal Police and the transfer of its employees to other posts.  This on Friday because today, Saturday, we learnt that the school janitors’ posts are also cancelled!.

greek parliamentThe government claims all this is happening to satisfy the Troika demands of “less civil servants”. Unfortunately, if this is their aim they are making a mess of it. There is a large number of civil servants who have been found guilty of negligence or misconduct and should be fired. Instead of targeting them the government is looking for easier prey thus increasing the insecurity of the population and the feeling of lawlessness that seems to dominate all aspects of life: the no-smoking ban has gone up in smoke, restaurants and coffee shops give you receipts but night clubs and bars often  get away with it and tax evade freely. Technicians and repair men rarely gave receipts even before the crisis but a look at the social benefits their taxes give them it is small wonder no one wants to pay them.

The Greek state should find a way to convince the people that this time there will be a modern administration, an efficient health care system, a high quality education system, a reliable mass transport system and better infrastructure: in other words that the tax payers’money will go where it is needed and for the common good. This is the only way to attack tax evasion and promote good governance all round.

Greek government reshuffling – Greek society in waiting

It has been two weeks since the Greek Radio Television signal became a black screen. This seemingly innocent act – compared to the selling off of a large number of public property and plans being hatched for even more- has managed to break up the tripartite government, cause a reshuffling (yet to be finalised tonight) and bring back to the fore talks of extraordinary elections.

While the ERT Mansion is still being run by the fired ERT employees and journalists unions, with concerts and daily performances by popular bands the rest of the country is trying to solve the mysteries of submitting tax returns electronically!! Out of 6.000.000 tax payers less than 100.000 have completed and submitted their tax returns and the government is considering an extension of the deadline (30 June). The rumors of further cuts in public health services, the practical disaster of the building sector and the merging of yet more schools in the coming year make the whispers about extraordinary elections seem absolutely logical.

Will the New Democracy and PASOK government have a better opportunity in Autumn when harsher measures will be implemented? Doubtful.

So, we carry on with more insecurity and a continuously receding standard of living waiting for the disaster to strike.

No news – is it good news?

Full moon tonight and the crowd around the ERT Megaron (Mansion – in free translation) seems to have shrunk a little. High temperatures have driven many of the protesters to the beaches during the day but they are expected to be back in the evening. The ERT employees are holding a general assembly to decide how to react to the Ministry of Economy directive to evacuate the ERT headquarters.

The two-party government is still planning its re-shuffling while the social media and a reputable right wing daily report that some of Mr. Fotis Kouvelis associates estimate that their party was practically forced out of the government.

Sporadic fires have broken out in the Attica region and we are all crossing our fingers since there has been very little preparation for this usual summer emergency.

A friend phoned me with the news that there are – more – rumors about hospitals closing down or merging with other hospitals.

As you understand, there are no definite news to report today. I will try to post a picture of the beautiful Athens moon tomorrow!