SAVEGREEKWATER Initiative, in response to what Mr Karolos Papoulias said in his message on the day of the 40th anniversary of the restoration of Democracy, sent him a letter with a very specific proposal, within its competence, in order, before the end of his term to proceed beyond the findings, to a positive for Democracy concrete act. Read the letter handed today 31.07.2014 to the Presidency of Democracy.
To: President of Democracy Mr. Karolos Papoulias
Athens, July 29, 2014
Dear Mr. President
Only a few days have passed since the 40th Anniversary Restoration of Democracy. In your message, as posted on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic, among other things stated is that: “The crisis brought a decline in Democracy and this is perhaps the most dramatic side effect of the economic adventure. The quality of parliamentarism, the debate between the parties, the political dialogue, the way the executive power made the decisions, all were seriously injured ”
We think it will be difficult to find in our country dissenters with your observation. Thus, whilst the parliamentary side of our Democracy declined, countless were the examples where the task of defending its essence was undertaken by initiatives, citizens’ groups and individuals.
We would like to draw once again your attention to the referendum on the non-privatization of Thessaloniki Water and Sewerage Company (EYATh) which was held on the same day as the recent municipal elections. In it, 218.002 Thessalonians, who participated in this “informal”, according to the government, referendum, expressed in a percentage of 98,04% their will that they do not want their city’s water to be privatized. Just one day before, the government tried to block the execution of this process, fortunately without success. As said that day, to our initiative, by the constitutional expert and now MEP Mr. Katrougalos, “the prohibition of the use of voter lists that was attempted was unconstitutional.” According to Professor of Constitutional Law, it “violated Article 102 of the Constitution which recognizes the competence of local authorities on local affairs including the conducting of referenda in accordance with the law ” Kallikratis “. Apart from that the ban infringes freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution and the free and genuine expression of popular will that is protected in Article 52 of the Constitution. ”
Allow us, please, to consider the massive participation in this referendum, a supreme achievement for our otherwise declining Democracy, which showed that Greek citizens are not only entitled but are also willing to be asked questions relating to the public interest of their city.
In your message you also stated that: “Personally, I received several times criticism for the signatures I put. The Constitution clearly defines the responsibilities of the President of Democracy and it was my decision to respect the Constitution, which has suffered much in recent years, and to not violate the institutional order, causing political impressions or political crisis, only to avoid the political costs ”
Since it falls into your responsibilities and in accordance with your decision to respect the Constitution, we invite you, before the end of your mandate to promote within your power, the issue of local referendums which are provided by the existing legislation (Article 216 of Law. 3463/2006 – Code on Municipalities – in conjunction with Article 225 of Law. 3852/2010), an action which may not completely reverse the decline of Democracy, but it can certainly be a bulwark against its further contraction.
To conclude, you said that “We will find the solution on our own and we will only find it through major reforms and radical structural changes, which will help to remove the causes of the fiscal derailment.”
We agree with this general statement. Therefore, since one of the main causes of the financial derailment is the absence of the exercise of social control in the actions of elected representatives, we hope you will agree that the implementation of local referendums would be a good start to achieve someday the true essence of democracy which is non other than the, as much as possible, more direct participation of citizens in decision-making.
The members of the Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece, SAVEGREEKWATER:
(In the letter submitted to the Presidency of Democracy that got an official file number, here followed the names, signatures and contact information of our members which are not published online for privacy reasons)