Po­lit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

Greece’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment has signed up to a new agree­ment with the na­tion’s lenders which is ex­pected to be ap­proved by the Par­lia­ment to­day. This third mem­o­ran­dum is of course a far cry from the cam­paign pledges of Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras. It is an al­most re­pul­sive agree­ment. The agree­ment is the re­sult of the gov­ern­ment’s six-month so-called ne­go­ti­a­tions. Adop­tion of the new mem­o­ran­dum and, most im­por­tantly, its im­ple­men­ta­tion will de­ter­mine whether Greece re­mains a mem­ber of the euro area. In fact, it would be more ac­cu­rate to say that the new agree­ment will buy just enough time to see whether Greece will stay in the euro or switch back to the drachma. Sim­ply put, noth­ing is fi­nal. The coun­try will try to find its bal­ance on the sur­face of a po­lit­i­cal quick­sand. Ger­many’s stub­born Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble has not given up on his idea of a tem­po­rary Grexit – and other coun­tries could fol­low suit. Im­por­tantly, SYRIZA has over the course of six months trans­formed it­self into a sys­temic and pro-Europe party. The trans­for­ma­tion is rem­i­nis­cent of PA­SOK’s (more grad­ual) con­cil­i­a­tion with the idea of NATO and EEC mem­ber­ship back in An­dreas Pa­pan­dreou’s day. Re­gard­less of Tsipras’s mo­tives, he did not pay heed to the po­lit­i­cal cost. As a re­sult, SYRIZA has come apart. The losses will be­come ev­i­dent in Par­lia­ment to­day. The change marks the trans­for­ma­tion of the Greek po­lit­i­cal scene. It ef­fec­tively ter­mi­nates the di­chotomy be­tween pro- and anti-Europe par­ties. It has also killed any am­bi­tions to set up a pro-Europe front. The idea was shot down be­fore it had a chance to be prop­erly put for­ward. SYRIZA’s sys­temic trans­for­ma­tion, which is still in an ini­tial phase, means that con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy will have to build a fresh narra- tive to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self from Tsipras’s party. A vo­cif­er­ous al­beit small fac­tion of New Democ­racy thought it would be a good idea to take on SYRIZA over the con­tent of the new mem­o­ran­dum. Some made claims about how the cen­ter-right party should act. It seems some peo­ple slipped into a role they were not given to play – or saw them­selves as an ex­pres­sion of the soul of the Greek right. ND chief Evan­ge­los Meimarakis was right to say that con­ser­va­tive MPs must give their un­con­di­tional sup­port to this “very bad deal.” New Democ­racy has no rea­son to mimic SYRIZA’s ide­o­log­i­cal rift.

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