The ref­er­en­dum ex­cuse

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PAN­TELIS BOUKALAS

Elec­tions are seen as a cat­a­strophic en­deavor for the coun­try, but a ref­er­en­dum would give us an in­stant taste of democ­racy, as it did on the is­sue of the PASOK party’s lead­er­ship, where, le­gend has it, 1 mil­lion peo­ple voted for Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou to helm the party. At least that is what the al­most for­mer prime min­is­ter (or semi-prime min­is­ter, given that he is now shar­ing his power with the other semi-prime min­is­ter, Evan­ge­los Venize­los, and with the troika) told Par­lia­ment. De­spite the cabi­net reshuf­fle and the al­most cer­tain vote of con­fi­dence that will be won in Par­lia­ment (af­ter so much talk about the risk of PASOK col­laps­ing thanks to a hand­ful of its own MPs), the new Cabi­net has in­her­ited from its pre­de­ces­sors an en­vi­ron­ment in which cred­i­bil­ity is low, as is po­lit­i­cal and so­cial le­git­i­macy. And such ills are not eas­ily reme­died. Pa­pan­dreou’s mood swings, as they man­i­fested them­selves over that five-hour pe­riod last week when he maybe was and maybe wasn’t prime min­is­ter, are in­ter­est­ing on a po­lit­i­cal level rather than a psy­cho­log­i­cal one. And this po­lit­i­cal as­pect re­vealed a politi­cian who is shaken to the core, ad­dled, with­out a strat­egy, fright­ened of the bur­den of the prob­lems he has to face and his feel­ing of weak­ness both per­son­ally and within his party. His in­ter­locu­tor dur­ing those five hours was New Democ­racy chief An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, who ap­peared just as fright­ened of the pos­si­bil­ity of tak­ing on many more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties than those usu­ally associated with the rhetoric of op­po­si­tion. This bal­ances things out only in that it paci­fies some to think that the “oth­ers” have also failed to rise to the oc­ca­sion, just like a high jumper who runs to his tar­get and lands on the mat, but only does so by pass­ing be­neath the bar rather than over it. A ref­er­en­dum is the bar that PASOK hopes to clear by go­ing un­der­neath it, even though it is much lower than the bar of elec­tions. One of the myths that was com­pletely shot down over this past week of po­lit­i­cal con­fu­sion was PASOK’s much-touted pro­cliv­ity for open gov­er­nance. Yet top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials had to switch on their tele­vi­sions to learn about their leader’s con­tra­dic­tory ini­tia­tives, while the min­is­ters who were on their way out also had to find out from the me­dia. Now, as if noth­ing has hap­pened, the new gov­ern­ment spokesman, us­ing the ex­cuse of a pos­si­ble ref­er­en­dum, has be­gun talk­ing about the need for more ne­go­ti­a­tions, for in-depth talks and other such im­por­tant-sound­ing stuff. He too ac­quired a ques­tion­able legacy, that of shirk­ing the truth.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.