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Nepotism Plagues Greek Government Under Syriza

Thursday, January 14, 2016 By C.J. Polychroniou, Greek Reporter | Op-Ed
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Syriza's rise to power was accompanied by popular hopes for reform on all fronts: economic, environmental, political and cultural. Alas, none of the hopes became reality. In fact, instead of spurring positive social change, the governing Syriza party has followed closely in the footsteps of its predecessors.

Aside from becoming yet another Greek political party that has found it impossible to chart a course away from dependence on the European Union and the IMF for the country's finance needs and thus break the vicious cycle of austerity-recession-debt, Syriza's political mentality remains the same on other crucial matters as that of the other parties that have governed Greece since the re-establishment of parliamentary democracy in 1974.

Take for instance the long-held practice of nepotism among Greek political parties. Indeed, hiring their own supporters for jobs in the public administrative sector and assigning critical roles to family members and friends is, along with corruption, a trademark of the way Greek political culture has functioned in the modern period. In this context, one would have expected a political party of the so-called radical left to adopt a different "moral approach" to nepotism.

But not so.

The Syriza-led government has hired scores of family members and friends of key government officials, a fact that has been well recorded in both the Greek and foreign media. Among the most notorious examples of eye-popping nepotism practiced by the new governing party is that of Rena Dourou, the governor of Attica prefecture, who assigned the role of Managing Director of the Athens of Water and Sewage Supply to her own partner and while the person in question had no proven experience whatsoever to make him qualify for this job, but also that of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself who hired his own cousin as adviser to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Little wonder then why people say that the more things change in Greece, the more they stay the same.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

C.J. Polychroniou

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism's politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout's Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthout and collected by Haymarket Books.

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Nepotism Plagues Greek Government Under Syriza

Thursday, January 14, 2016 By C.J. Polychroniou, Greek Reporter | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Syriza's rise to power was accompanied by popular hopes for reform on all fronts: economic, environmental, political and cultural. Alas, none of the hopes became reality. In fact, instead of spurring positive social change, the governing Syriza party has followed closely in the footsteps of its predecessors.

Aside from becoming yet another Greek political party that has found it impossible to chart a course away from dependence on the European Union and the IMF for the country's finance needs and thus break the vicious cycle of austerity-recession-debt, Syriza's political mentality remains the same on other crucial matters as that of the other parties that have governed Greece since the re-establishment of parliamentary democracy in 1974.

Take for instance the long-held practice of nepotism among Greek political parties. Indeed, hiring their own supporters for jobs in the public administrative sector and assigning critical roles to family members and friends is, along with corruption, a trademark of the way Greek political culture has functioned in the modern period. In this context, one would have expected a political party of the so-called radical left to adopt a different "moral approach" to nepotism.

But not so.

The Syriza-led government has hired scores of family members and friends of key government officials, a fact that has been well recorded in both the Greek and foreign media. Among the most notorious examples of eye-popping nepotism practiced by the new governing party is that of Rena Dourou, the governor of Attica prefecture, who assigned the role of Managing Director of the Athens of Water and Sewage Supply to her own partner and while the person in question had no proven experience whatsoever to make him qualify for this job, but also that of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself who hired his own cousin as adviser to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Little wonder then why people say that the more things change in Greece, the more they stay the same.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

C.J. Polychroniou

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism's politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout's Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthout and collected by Haymarket Books.