The first day of the e-kyklos conference on “Asymmetries and National Agenda” ended with interesting and lively discussions about the present and future of the country’s political system and democratic functioning.
Summarizing the discussions, Evangelos Venizelos said that “the asymmetries we are experiencing start from the asymmetry of memory. We rushed to talk about a return to normality. We are now making the yeast. We are mentally working on the plan for the next day”.
Anna Diamantopoulou noted that the dominant party in Greece has always been the Center and the Centers are now too many and lend their vote. They give it and take it back. He noticed that there is a problem in the western political system with the dividing line between the political systems being the Right-Left and added: “Today there is a need for a new political proposal. The liberal parties maintain a basic framework and in some issues it approaches the wants of society but it is necessary to form a new party that will have elements of liberalism with a modern agenda of the new era (Climate change, Demographic, Immigration)”.
Mrs. Diamantopoulou underlined that “the political system, the parties will give answers and they will be done with ruptures of the past. With reforms that are breaking through. The other pole will not be a new better ND but a new voice. The current opposition if not grasps this meaning he will not be able to respond. The political personnel required is incubating but we do not yet know how and when it will be expressed.”
For his part, the constitutionalist Costas Botopoulos spoke of an asymmetry between the formal Democracy, where the legislative framework and institutions have not been altered, and the essential Democracy where it concerns how it is applied in practice. He added that another issue of asymmetry is its reception by society. “How society experiences democracy. Constitutional changes are not a priority and none should be done or at least two, especially two. The clarification of State-Church relations and the functioning of the Judiciary”, he noted.
Antonis Karambatzos, Professor of Law at the Athens University of Athens, observed that liberal democracy worldwide and in Greece is being tested and is facing risks of its slow deterioration. He emphasized that “our political system after the elections came out lame” and underlined that if the political consensus is not restored, it will take a long time for normality to return. Regarding the reforms, Mr. Karabatzos pointed out that in order to promote them, they need social consensus and political will.
“The asymmetry in the modern world arose on September 11, 2001. Since then we have been experiencing various asymmetries, we are experiencing crises of democracy”, emphasized Professor Panagis Panagiotopoulos. He observed that frustration and expectation prevail at the same time and expressed the hope that the conditions that currently create them will be overcome.
Clashes and arguments between party representatives took place in the debate on the necessary reforms and counterbalances needed to address the asymmetries observed in the country, at the e-kyklos conference. The focus was on the recent legislation on public administrations and Independent Authorities.
In particular, the deputy minister of the interior, Theodoros Livanios, said: Everyone must do their job. The government theirs and the Independent authorities theirs. You are misreading the election result because the re-election of Mr. Mitsotakis is unique in recent years. Since 2016 he has consistently topped the polls. Legislation of objective criteria for administrations is appropriate.
The MP of PASOK-KINAL, Milena Apostolaki, contradicted his position saying that it is a lack of political will for substantial reform as the party appointments do not change. Regarding the fact that PASOK is identified with 33%, the PASOK member of parliament argued that this happens because everything that is torn down quickly and easily, is built again slowly and with difficulty. He suffered a great defeat but he endured. We are talking to the largest part of the Center Left.
SYRIZA MP Theofilos Xanthopoulos said: We do not consider all parties the same way about the reforms. SYRIZA is in a difficult phase which is a result of the double electoral defeat. It is obvious that if we do not solve our problems, we will not solve the country’s problems.
In the next panel, the professor of Constitutional Law, X. Anthopoulos, said that the research responded to the content of the asymmetry of society and shows the changes that citizens expect. They want “brakes” on everyone’s power, their intolerance of one-party political monopoly. He considered the hegemony of the ND fragile and argued that a constitutional revision should not occur with 180 in the current Parliament.
The professor of Panteion University, Gerasimos Moschonas, noted that there is a reformist mood of the citizens, but when the discussion about the content begins, they retreat. He characterized the trend for the country’s international position as interesting. ND won because it was better and SYRIZA’s strategy was to write negatively in the books.
For her part, EKPA professor, Lamprini Rori, observed that the party system is not yet ready for major reforms. He added that it is positive that the citizens want reforms concerning the state but at the same time there is no estrus from the government and the parties. He estimated that the ND has sovereignty but does not have carte blanche from the citizens.
The MP of PASOK, P. Doudonis, emphasized that PASOK’s responsibility is to combine the demands of society with its political positions. Reform does not mean that everyone will agree. The country needs a progressive proposal.
The communication expert, Eutychis Vardoulakis, pointed out that everyone wants reforms but the difficulties arise when the content is determined. The logic of the 1.5 party arose with the responsibility of the other parties and not of the ND. In any case, the world wants balance and nothing is permanent.