Po­lit­i­cal farce

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

Yes­ter­day we sawa po­lit­i­cal farce of the first de­gree. A sur­prised pub­lic, at home and abroad, was at first in­formed that Greece’s So­cial­ist Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou – ob­vi­ously dev­as­tated by the bank­ruptcy of his po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic pol­icy de­ci­sions – agreed to step down from of­fice and join forces with con­ser­va­tive leader An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras for the for­ma­tion of a unity coali­tion gov­ern­ment. Pa­pan­dreou, re­ports said, even agreed that the new prime min­is­ter would be picked by both sides. A few hours later, Pa­pan­dreou backed down from his ear­lier com­mit­ment on the grounds that Sa­ma­ras treated the prospect of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two main­stream par­ties as a pub­lic re­la­tions stunt. The head of PASOK went on to an­nounce a gov­ern­ment reshuf­fle for to­day. The sta­tus of Greece’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem has suf­fered ir­repara­ble dam­age as a re­sult. The coun­try’s cred­i­bil­ity in the Euro­pean Union has been tar­nished. Greek cit­i­zens are sim­ply wait­ing to see the con­se­quences of this am­a­teur­ish – some peo­ple would say crim­i­nal – man­age­ment of the cur­rent cri­sis, and of the nation’s fu­ture. Some might be tempted to in­stead put the blame on Sa­ma­ras and his op­po­si­tion con­ser­va­tives. The premier, af­ter all, has al­ready cho­sen to do so. But, whether we like it or not, in a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sys­tem like the one we have here, po­lit­i­cal power is ex­erted by the gov­ern­ment in charge. The coun­try is not run by the op­po­si­tion, the masses, the unions, the busi­ness com­mu­nity or by the pun­dits. Pa­pan­dreou has failed us mis­er­ably – and the price of this fail­ure is to be paid by all peo­ple across party lines. True to char­ac­ter, Pa­pan­dreou yes­ter­day acted in a highly un­con­ven­tional man­ner that re­sulted in chaos. Sure, his in­ten­tions might have been good. It seems cer­tain that his con­tacts with Sa­ma­ras were made with­out prior con­sul­ta­tion with his close aides. A “deal” with the New Democ­racy leader would in­volve a “rene­go­ti­a­tion” of the first and sec­ond mem­o­ran­dum – and that was per­haps not ac­cepted by some of Greece’s in­ter­na­tional peers. A tragic Pa­pan­dreou yes­ter­day trans­formed him­self from politi­cian into a fa­tal hero.

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