The hour of facing responsibilities is hovering over the prime minister’s office, as it handles an extremely painful situation, and is being blasted by the press and citizenry for the fact that no government official has even apologised, and no one has resigned.
Hence, the PM is being prodded towards the “sacrifice” or sacking of officials whose remit is related to the blaze. The PM’s office denied reports that there were plans to sack high-level security officials.
Omissions, underestimation, stress on communications management, and a lack of coordination comprise the mosaic of the crisis and of the related political responsibilities.
The prime minister and his staff are placing great weight on yesterday’s generous and comprehensive package of disaster relief measures, which was announced partly as an effort to change the heavy climate, but also in order to protect the image of the PM.
The pressures being exerted from various quarters for the assumption of responsibilities and for the tendering of resignations are great. Yet, this is apparently not being considered in the PM’s office, which is backing the general secretary for civil protection and Attica Prefect Rena Dourou (SYRIZA).
“Whoever was at the wrong place at the wrong time should make it easier for the PM (to resign without forcing him to sack them),” was a phrase used in the past before resignations, which allowed successive PMs to transcend political impasses.
Yet, there are no such discussions in the cabinet or in SYRIZA’s parliamentary group, though some veteran cadres underline the need to take steps to defuse the situation.
Tsipras shoulders responsibility
As long as there are no resignations in the aftermath of the deadly wildfires, the blame falls on the PM. From the very beginning , the prime minister was not properly informed and did not have a clear picture of what was going on, as he canceled an engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina and flew back to Athens to handle the emergency.
With the information available until now, Alexis Tsipras believes that no member of the government bears responsibility.
At the same time, main opposition New Democracy cadres privately cite cases in foreign countries where ministers resigned due to similar incidents, and they ask how it can be that after dozens of deaths there have been no resignations.