Pulling cards from a worn deck

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Ev­ery­thing points to New Democ­racy win­ning the next gen­eral elec­tion, when­ever this takes place. While there are no waves of pas­sion­ate vot­ers grav­i­tat­ing to­wards the con­ser­va­tive party, it is clear that the “they have to go” move­ment is grow­ing, while there are no other ma­jor play­ers to take ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion on the po­lit­i­cal stage at this point. Per­haps a strong, anti-Euro­pean, rightwing party wav­ing the “Trump-Brexit” ban­ner could sneak into the void, but this would re­quire a gifted and un­tainted per­son­al­ity to lead it, and this per­son does not ex­ist. So Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis and ND will win the next elec­tion. We have the right to ask who he will gov- ern with and what their agenda will be. ND is a tired party. It lacks a clear ide­o­log­i­cal di­rec­tion and a crit­i­cal mass of sup­port­ers in the real econ­omy. For years, the party op­er­ated based on a large group of of­fi­cials whose mo­tives were power, ap­point­ing cronies and con­trol­ling the pub­lic sec­tor. The best mo­ment to get a glimpse of the team in ques­tion is at its an­nual gath­er­ing for the party chief’s ad­dress. Mit­so­takis did not count these peo­ple among his al­lies when he was elected to the party’s lead­er­ship. In­stead, he con­vinced peo­ple with no ties to the party to spend hours in a line wait­ing to cast their vote in his fa­vor. He showed stamina and courage, and for this he was re­warded by a por­tion of the mid­dle class who wished to move onto a fresh chap­ter and for a new per­son to stand up against Alexis Tsipras. Since then, the ND chief has ob­vi­ously been bal­anc­ing, non-stop, be­tween main­tain­ing the equi­lib­rium in­side his part and spear­head­ing a le­git­i­mate, per­haps some­what vi­o­lent, shakeup, as ev­i­denced by ru­mors of new of­fi­cials out­side the party’s core. For the time be­ing, how­ever, what we are ob­serv­ing is a re­dis­tri­bu­tion of a worn deck of cards. With a cou­ple of ex­cep­tions, it’s not clear, for in­stance, how dif­fer­ent the shadow cabi­net would be had another per­son won the party’s top job. Po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers need time to ac­quire the nec­es­sary ex­pe­ri­ence and set­tle into the job. The weight on their shoul­ders is huge. If Mit­so­takis also fails, it will then be the turn of Greece’s an­swer to Italy’s Beppe Grillo, or some­thing sim­i­lar. In other words, it is cru­cial that he suc­ceeds, even though he will be faced with tough con­di­tions and with­out a hon­ey­moon phase with the Greek peo­ple, who have grown very im­pa­tient. Mit­so­takis will have to shake things up and step on toes when he rises to power, some­thing he should have al­ready done with the party. If he goes to the elec­tion with the same tattered deck, he will soon run out of cards when he rises to power.

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