THE ABSURD political theatre we have been watching, the last couple of months, on the foreclosures bill should enter its final act today, hopefully without any major surprises. The politicians have engaged in enough grandstanding and uttered enough brave words to feel happy that they had done their duty, in supposedly protecting the vulnerable groups that are in danger of being evicted by the banks.
The party leaders had plenty of crisis meetings with the president, deputies drafted an over-abundance of amendments and supplementary bills, there were consultations with the Troika and the vote on the bill was postponed more than enough times. Having done their best to show that they care for the little people and vulnerable groups, today they will have to vote on an array of bills that could make or break the struggling economy.
First and foremost, there is the foreclosures bill, which incorporates the innocuous amendments approved by the Troika. It is expected to pass with DISY and DIKO votes, although the rest of the parties will defiantly reject it, safe in the knowledge that their votes are not needed to see it through. All the proposals of the parties (additional safeguards) that the Troika vetoed will most probably be incorporated in a second bill that would also be approved. This offers a face-saving solution for all parties, but especially for DIKO as it would allow it to back the foreclosures bill which it had stridently opposed.
According to the best-case scenario, the president would subsequently refuse to sign the bill with the parties’ proposals and send it back to the legislature which would refuse to make any changes to it. The dispute would be referred to the Supreme Court which would take several months to issue a decision and when it does, it would probably rule in favour of the president. The parties could then blame the uncaring president for blocking their bill that was aimed at protecting vulnerable groups and that would be the end of the story.
Anything else, such as incorporating the party proposals rejected by the Troika in the foreclosures bill would spell disaster, because it would lead to the non-disbursement of the next instalment of financial aid and the derailing of the adjustment programme, the consequences of which would be devastating for the economy. It is to be hoped that the parties, having exhausted all efforts to protect vulnerable groups, would act responsibly today and follow the script of the best-case scenario, which offers them a face-saving solution and spares the country of another March 2013-type disaster.