Administrative Reform and the Greek Parties

Written by Constantinos Bouas on .

BallotThe ongoing administrative reform effort is one of the most critical issues of concern for the administrative science in Greece.  Considering the longstanding structural weaknesses of the public administration, as well as the explicit commitments of the Greek State deriving from the MoU, it is easy to realize the urgency of immediate and effective implementation of public sector reform package.

The present political situation, volatile, ambivalent and at a loss regarding the most appropriate solutions for exiting the  fiscal, but also highly political, crisis, makes it imperative to review the official positions of the parties about administrative reform. 

A comparative analysis of the public positions of the Greek parties, at least those uploaded in their official sites, offers several interesting conclusions.

At first, it should be noted that all programs, even the most advanced and comprehensive, (like the one of New Democracy, Democratic Left and Independent Greeks) are restricted to a simple quotation of ideas or proposals, thus lacking a systemic approach, which would present a well documented framework or an action plan with concrete measures, procedures and tools that would also mention all the resources needed.

So the policy speech is restricted to a mere presentation of ideas, which more or less, dominate the public dialogue. It must also be noted that some parties’ position are not elaborated enough, which is mainly due to the lack of information, know-how and expertise, rather than to a different, evidence based approach. So, one can notice that both in the case of DRASI (where no concrete approach for the public administration), and in the case of PASOK, Democratic Coalition, Recreate Greece (Dimiourgia xana!), Ecogreens (Oikologoi Prasinoi), there is no concrete approach or methodological context for the public administration, thus making obligatory to have recourse to public statements or interviews of the parties leaders about administrative reform.   

The elaboration and analysis of parties’ positions winning more than 1% of the total votes in the last elections does not include the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Communist Party (KKE), GOLDEN DAWN (LAIKOS SYNDESMOS), since no description of their position on public administration and administrative reform issues was available on the web.

However, in terms of further analysis, it is remarkable that despite the different degree of parties’ positions elaboration, anyone can come to the conclusion that there is a substantial convergence on crucial parameters concerning the administrative reform.


Graph: Convergence of parties’ position regarding specific thematic areas of administrative reform

More precisely, through policy speech of parties (New Democracy, Pasok, Democratic Left, Independent Greeks, Laikos Orthodoxos Synagermos, DRASI, GOLDEN DAWN), the necessity of reforms to the following identical controversial/disputed issues is clear in:

  • the building of a decision making mechanism in top level, which will enable strategic planning and the coordination of administrative actions
  • The adoption of Better Regulation agenda
  • The expansion of consultation
  • The reduction of administrative structures number and the reorganization, according to a further estimation of the public services responsibilities

 As far as the crucial issue of human resources in managerial positions is concerned, all the above mentioned parties seem to consent to issues such as education, rational allocation and development of HR, according to the qualifications necessary for the relevant position, the implementation of an equitable assessment system as well as of a modern salary system.

Remarkable is also the convergence on the crucial issue of electronic governance applications’ development, which will contribute to the organizational and technological modernization of public administration. The expansion of computerization, the interconnection and the upgrade of public services level towards both the citizens and the enterprises is only a subtotal of these applications.

Following the comparative assessment of parties’ position on public administration and administrative reform, the parties seem to agree on the necessity of a substantial reform of the administrative mechanism.

Therefore it seems that, in the majority of the Greek parties, there is a growing consensus supporting the position that without direct implementation of measures for the modernization of the administration, there will be no prospect for a friendly administration, able to support the economic activity, the development and recovery of the Greek economy.


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