Pa­pan­dreou’s op­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou does not seem to be on top of things any­more. The con­tra­dic­tory de­ci­sions and back-ped­al­ing of the So­cial­ist ad­min­is­tra­tion are lead­ing the trou­bled nation closer to the bal­lot – and all that amid grow­ing so­cial tur­moil and empty state cof­fers. It’s high time that Pa­pan­dreou made up his mind. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, it would make sense if he waited for the Greek Par­lia­ment to vote on the midterm fis­cal plan, weigh the re­ac­tion of the Euro­pean Union and then make a de­ci­sion. But these are not nor­mal cir­cum­stances. In so­ci­ety as well as in Par­lia­ment one can see the emer­gence of vi­o­lent dy­nam­ics that al­low no room for end­less dis­cus­sions and spec­u­la­tion. Peo­ple can see clearly that they are ruled by a bad gov­ern­ment and a prime min­is­ter who has no clear plan about where he wants to take the coun­try. One so­lu­tion – a so­lu­tion fraught with peril though – would be to hold a snap elec­tion. That sce­nario, of course, con­tains the risk of a sus­pen­sion of pay­ments in the mid­dle of cam­paign pe­riod. It would also be a shock for Greece’s Eu- ro­pean part­ners and len­ders who, driven by the be­lief that Greece’s lead­ers and so­ci­ety are un­able to han­dle the cri­sis, would start gen­er­at­ing sce­nar­ios of a Greek exit from the eu­ro­zone. That said, a gen­eral elec­tion would pro­vide some sort of cathar­sis, as it were. A sec­ond so­lu­tion for Pa­pan­dreou would be to form a more efficient gov­ern­ment by re­cruit­ing a small group of highly efficient staff ral­lied around a com­mon goal. Not in the com­ing week, of course, or the week af­ter, but now. Such a reshuf­fle would en­able the So­cial­ist leader to send a sig­nal to so­ci­ety that he is break­ing with the old guard and with old tac­tics. Even if the premier were ousted by the old PASOK, Pa­pan­dreou would still be able to claim the vote of the mid­dle class that has lost con­fi­dence in his abil­ity to gov­ern the coun­try. There are no other so­lu­tions. Un­less, that is, our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem – par­tic­u­larly the PASOK and New Democ­racy par­ties – is so fright­ened of de­vel­op­ments as to be con­vinced into a coali­tion gov­ern­ment that will go on to ne­go­ti­ate a new mem­o­ran­dum with the coun­try’s for­eign len­ders and ac­tu­ally get down to rul­ing the coun­try.

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