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Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 No Comments

Greek elections: False dilemmas and poor strategies

In previous elections, the two (former) major parties, ND and PASOK failed to persuade Greek people to subscribe to the dilemma “government or chaos”. People voted for “co-operation”. A few days later, major parties failed in that as well, although it was not entirely their fault. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras was the only one who gracefully escaped the impasse at the Presidential Mansion. His political disclaimer was that his major opponents (i.e. ND-PASOK-Democratic Left) were reluctant to “man up” to form a government majority (of 168 MPs) and save the country from insecurity.

Obviously, Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis needed no fortunetellers to forecast the glorious years Tsipras would have in front of him being in the main opposition, while the aforementioned trio would be consumed by the additional measures included in the second MoU. There would be no political peace, the left reaction would surge and soon the country would found itself once again in a dead-end.

Bottom line this is politics in Greece, especially when a weak 3-party coalition in the MoU years equals to almost the same (or less) power a strong party used to have in the years of prosperity.

So, what is going to be? Which approach is more suitable to describe the future of local politics? Is Greek electorate following the canoe paradigm, or we are in front of a SYRIZA sailboat effect, as a diplomat put in a recent gathering. Will things balance again after a strong sideward movement or Tsipras will become the youngest prime minister in Europe?

I used to argue that current gen of politicians is equally problematic as the one their mentors belonged to. So, a new leader in his thirties could make a difference. But again, in the case of Greece, new leadership should not emerge from the left. Not at the moment. The country cannot afford sailing the Left boat in unmarked waters. We need a coalition of the willing and a period of careful planning and courageous implementation of structural changes and wider modernisation moves to put our house in order.

All these are at stake once again in June 17. My view is that given the circumstances and the severe damages PASOK has suffered in May, the only anti-SYRIZA force could emerge from the centre-right that would cooperate with Venizelos’ party (a new name and branding strategy remain a possibility), use a new liberal centrist force as a glue (Drasi with Re-Create Greece) and keep Democratic Left as a backup plan for the future. Moreover, some Kammenos’ MPs could possibly return to ND nest, offering their support in a coalition, or as soon as the government puzzle is solved.

However, for the time being, the call for unity in the centre-right lacks the required dynamism as well as touch to society, since it focuses on Dora Bakoyannis’ and some LAOS’ MPs return, two moves that symbolically are reciprocally neutralized. Uniting the centre-right per se does not seem relevant to Greek people; especially when the country’s obligations to the MoU will lead to the introduction of 6 more tax hikes in the next few months, some of them -regrettably- arriving through the post before June 17.

What perhaps would be relevant to Greeks is a constructive approach to their problems, old and new, an ability SYRIZA lacks by default.

The majority of Greek citizens are looking for a rationale to avoid voting for Alexis; but old leaderships do almost nothing to give them a reason not to.

Dr. Demetris Kamaras is the Editor of AlYunaniya.com

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