Athens fire catastrophe: who must go?
After the wildfire tragedy near Athens which claimed almost 90 lives, Nikos Toskas, Alternate Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, has resigned. Politicians and the media have for days been discussing the consequences of the mistakes that have come to light. The media believe that much more than one minister's resignation is needed.
Tsipras has done everything wrong
For Kathimerini the minister's resignation is just the start of the process of dealing with the consequences of the fire tragedy:
“Toska's resignation was made necessary by the scale of the tragedy and the way it was dealt with. ... Every government looks for an Iphigenia to sacrifice when it is confronted with the people's anger. The question is whether the prime minister, albeit too late, recognised how poorly he has dealt with all matters pertaining to public security. The policies of his Syriza party, the people, the looseness - it's all wrong. ... The question is whether decisions will be made that prevent further losses during this government's term of office or whether cronyism and ideological obsessions will win out, which would be very dangerous for this country.”
Fatal lack of empathy
Tsipras's political future is in danger, the correspondent of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation in Istanbul Ariana Ferentinou comments in Hürriyet Daily News:
“The leftist-led Greek government is suffering its biggest blow to its image since it came to power in autumn 2015. Especially the prime minister Alexis Tsipras, whose slow response and lack of convincing empathy, damaged his image at a time when he most needed a popularity boost. ... More heads are expected to roll in the following days and urgent bills are to be speeded up through the parliament to try to reverse the process of public rejection for the 'first leftist government in Greece' that rose to power by promoting solidarity and care for the needy. A new effective government team is urgently needed to boost Tsipras's sinking image but also to prove its efficiency.”
Own up to mistakes and face the consequences
The government must assume responsibility for its pathetic disaster management, Ta Nea rails:
“What was missing once again was a discussion of the reasons why an evacuation was not ordered, why the removal of people was not organised, and why the rescue operation delayed so much. Charred and drowned people are still being discovered, but the government refuses to apologise, to engage in self-criticism, and to assume essential responsibility. Just as in the communist era they removed annoying people from photographs, today the Syriza-Independent Greeks government is banishing troublesome emotions from the picture. The rage, however, cannot be erased. On the contrary, it is flaring up.”
Opposition will stop at nothing
It is the opposition that is unscrupulously trying to escape its share of the blame for the wildfires, the pro-government paper Avgi counters:
“The only thing Nea Dimokratia has sought to do since this national disaster began is to turn it to its own advantage. ... Its only goal has been to fuel the anger against the government in a bid to topple it. But in so doing it is only harming coexistence in daily life and exacerbating the people's problems. To that end it is working closely with certain media, publishers and journalists. ... With these communication tactics Nea Dimokratia is trying to divert attention from any discussion about its own responsibility [as the former ruling party]. ... Nea Dimokratia is engaging in extortion and literally walking over dead bodies.”