Greece: A new start with the same old politicians?
18 June 2012
The winner of the June 17 elections, conservative Antonis Samaras could form a pro-memorandum coalition. For Athens daily Kathimerini there’s a future for Greece if political parties embody a quality they have been all too lacking in so far — responsibility.
Family men and women who work hard and pay their taxes have done their duty: The largest portion voted for New Democracy in yesterday’s national election, putting aside their personal opinions and reservations, they supported Pasok as a responsible coalition partner and some voted for Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left.
We need men willing to be kamikazes, not traditional politicians who tremble when their political assets are at risk and people are reacting. And frankly, the political parties are not overflowing with such courageous or specially talented individuals.
Now, of course, it’s time for the country’s politicians to rise to the challenge – which won’t be an easy one. Greek politicians, including Alexis Tsipras, leader of the anti-bailout Syriza party, must exceed every expectation and steer the country away from the great perils that lie ahead.
No one can claim ignorance about the fact that the nation is in a terrible mess. No one can afford to be irresponsible just because the electorate sent them into the opposition. We’re all in the same boat.
We have won a bit of time
Antonis Samaras, the leader of conservative New Democracy, fought a tough battle and won it despite the difficulties. He is well aware that his party’s share of the vote in yesterday’s election includes thousands of voters who backed the conservatives because they wanted to avoid a euro exit or a victory for extremist political forces.
Samaras must recruit the most qualified people from across all sectors and not simply rely on the political old guard who all rushed to line up behind him for the photographers at Zappeion Hall [the place in Athens where official meetings take place].
The next government’s room for manoeuvre will be extremely limited because everything is in the red, the public is deeply divided and our partners are rapidly running out of patience.
Can we succeed? Of course we can. We have often shown in the past that we can pull off near-miracles at the very last minute. That said, we will need the tolerance and support of our European partners and international creditors who know what is at stake for both Greece and Europe.
Most importantly, we have won a bit of time and have taken a deep breath and we have not catapulted ourselves outside the eurozone. Let’s hope that when our pro-European leaders sit down to negotiate at the Presidential Palace they will manage to overcome their limitations and exceed our expectations. For once, let them provide us with a pleasant surprise.