Po­lit­i­cal rum­blings afoot?

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS XYDAKIS

Deeply scarred fi­nan­cially, so­cially numb, with­out a plan and with lit­tle con­fi­dence, Greece sails on un­governed. The prime min­is­ter ap­pears to have lost the trust of the coun­try’s Euro­pean part­ners and the in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, while the gov­ern­ment is com­posed of peo­ple who are busy get­ting ready for the day af­ter and their own per­sonal sur­vival. The Euro­pean Union, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, mean­while, are not obliv­i­ous to this and as such their rec­om­men­da­tions have taken on a raw po­lit­i­cal qual­ity that al­lows for lit­tle lee­way. Re­mark­ably, the peo­ple seem to be calmer than any­one else and on the whole have shown a great deal of pa­tience and dis­ci­pline in the face of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment. For the silent ma­jor­ity, many of the re­forms out­lined in the mem­o­ran­dum have been ac­cepted, es­pe­cially those that concern stream­lin­ing the state. Other re­forms and cut­backs have been deemed un­nec­es­sary or even de­struc­tive. What is not ac­cept­able to the peo­ple is a sec­ond mem­o­ran­dum, and es­pe­cially one that would be even stricter than the first and would sig­nal an even deeper re­ces­sion. Mean­while, pub­lic opin­ion also seems to be shift­ing away from Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan- dreou, as a year-and-a-half af­ter his elec­tion vic­tory, more and more vot­ers are be­gin­ning to see him as be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the state of the coun­try right now. At this piv­otal junc­ture we saw the emer­gence of An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras with his so-called Zappeio 2 plan. Once a po­lit­i­cal out­cast, the out­sider who was elected leader of the New Democ­racy op­po­si­tion party, shat­tered and bur­dened by scan­dals and bad man­age­ment, in­tro­duced change: He changed the style of the party’s rhetoric, along with its ob­jec­tives and its im­age. Most im­por­tantly, he dared to chal­lenge the mem­o­ran­dum and now, at a time when peo­ple are look­ing for an­other way out, he feels ready to chal­lenge the gov­ern­ment in an elec­tion. Sa­ma­ras’s ap­pear­ance on Wed­nes­day shifted the fo­cus on Greece’s po­lit­i­cal agenda in his fa­vor: He looked and sounded like a leader as he em­pha­sized the need to re­store the peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in them­selves and pre­sented a way out of the re­ces­sion, while at the same time at­tract­ing the no­tice of the in­ter­na­tional el­e­ment, which is look­ing for an in­ter­locu­tor who has po­lit­i­cal back­ing. The road for Sa­ma­ras re­mains very rocky, but it looks like he has a chance.

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