There is nothing really unexpected in the ongoing dissent being witnessed within the ranks of both New Democracy and PASOK ahead of the parliamentary vote on the controversial multi-bill. Milk producers and pharmacists will clearly be hit by the new regulations. Similarly, other groups have been brought to their knees by the government’s efforts to achieve the ultimate goal of saving the country.
Every reasonable observer can see the pressure the conservative-led government is under. That said, Greece has a representative political system, which means that deputies ought to respect the party to which they belong but, at the same time, they should take into account the interests of their voters.
The only way to overcome the abovementioned paradox would be to make sure the public is fully and sincerely informed about the consequences of the economic policies followed by Greek governments between 2010 and the present.
Instead, all administrations prefer to tamper with the facts in a bid to meet ephemeral objectives – such as passing a bill or boosting an election campaign – only to then hit the people with fresh measures. In many cases, these measures were designed to meet the country’s pending commitments.
MPs are now expected to rubber-stamp this tactic by voting in favor of regulations that will supposedly save the country. Doing so, however, consolidates the process of “mild coups” or “necessary deviations” that are undermining the country’s representative system.
The aim of every ambitious, and skilled, deputy is to climb all the way to the party’s top seat and, ultimately, become prime minister. When this is done, he or she needs all the support he or she can get from MPs, party cadres and, of course, the people. This is how it works. But when, because of the circumstances, society is pushed to the extremes, the problem becomes less about the government’s survival and more about the survival of the political system.
There are two things that we must take into consideration here. First, the two-party system has collapsed while at the same time there will be limited opportunities for whoever wins the coming elections, ND or SYRIZA, to form a coalition government. Secondly, the current parliament will likely be the last with a pro-bailout majority.
These facts should determine the strategy of the coalition government, which is not threatened by SYRIZA but by internal problems that it is trying to cure with tactics which undermine its credibility.