Senior justice resigns from committee coordinating dialogue on revising Constitution

A senior justice on the Coordinating Committee for Dialogue on Constitutional Revision, Professor of Constitutional Law and Council of State honorary Vice-President Petros Pararas, on Friday tendered his resignation from the committee in a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Giving his reasons for the decision, Pararas said that his special expertise will not be needed on the committee, whose main task will be to sound out public opinion. He also indirectly pointed to criticism levelled against him by independent MP Haris Theocharis and the Potami party.

“The remit of the dialogue committee, as made specific yesterday, does not necessarily require legal knowledge or that of public-sector law, since it comprises chiefly of exploring public opinion, holding audiences with institutions that represent the society of citizens and, generally, contact with bodies that express society, simply in order to note their opinion on the articles of the Constitution to be revised,” he wrote.

He also noted, however, that “public dialogue requires observing principles of democracy and respect, which certain sides appear unwilling to observe, as shown by the unethical and unfounded attacks on my person,” and that he would allow no vilifier to cast aspersions on his “democratic ethics”.

Government sources responded to the resignation by accusing the opposition of “cannibalism” and pointed out that members of the opposition parties, such as Stavros Tsakyrakis, had been happy to present Pararas’ book and had raised no objections when the same man had chaired a legislative committee under the Costas Karamanlis government. The opposition had been disconcerted to see Pararas on the committee for revising the Constitution, the sources added.

The Potami party, in an announcement, insisted on the revelations it made on Thursday, regarding Pararas’ involvement in a committee that drafted the 1967-1974 junta constitution for Greece.

“He talks about unethical attacks on his person but does not go to the trouble of denying that he took part in the junta committee on the Constitution,” a Potami announcement said. The affair once again “proves the frivolous way” in which the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition handled the serious issue of revising the Constitution, it said.