You would think that including a democratically legitimate basis on which the Greek bailout terms could be ratified, would be a smart move for any politician pushing through not just difficult, but unpalatable reforms that will effect ordinary Greek citizens for the next generation.
Prime Minister Papandreou's decision to put the bailout terms to a popular referendum looked not just brave, but absolutely essential, given the nature and extent of cuts now being imposed upon Greek public spending. At a stroke, the Greek people would be bound tightly into the process, giving it the ultimate legitimacy, and the weight that only democratic participation can incur. Remember, we're talking about the cradle of democracy here. Greece invented a political process that millions throughout modern history have fought and died for - as more than 4000 Syrians in the last few months add testimony to.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It now seems that Papandreou will be forced to resign for involving democracy in the political process. There is talk of a nationalist Coalition being formed after his departure in order that the question will not require a referendum - on the pretext that a Coalition will involve all major parties, so there's no need to ask the people for a democratic mandate.
It certainly looks like the EU will do almost anything to avoid democratic accountability...
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