Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has accomplished a lot under very trying circumstances so far. Doing so has been no easy task and he has given it his all, as they say.
As the country heads toward the European Parliament elections next month, it’s only natural that Samaras is currently absorbed by partisan issues. It’s a new round at the ballot box, after all, and a crucial one for that matter. However, I do think it would be a mistake for him to allow a number of self-destructive patterns to be repeated.
The first has been a defining factor of all the administrations that have led Greece in its most recent history: During each set of negotiations with the troika, the country has lived through a nightmare, followed by a major crisis both inside and outside Parliament before a number of measures are finally approved by the House. The following day a few party officials who have been appointed to various positions and are comfortably sitting behind their desks begin to methodically dismantle whatever has been approved. For example, if the dockworkers’ profession were to be liberalized, they would be sure to bring back the restrictions through amendments and circulars that the rest of us would never notice. Socialist PASOK’s old guard proved to be a specialist in this unorthodox and ultimately disastrous war. Greece never actually changes, while the government bears the political cost and the country’s credibility is undermined internationally. The next politician to try to play this kind of game ought to be ousted for reasons that have to do with protecting the credibility of both the premier and the government. But will they be?
The second pattern has to do with the appointment of certain politicians and failed party officials to public positions. This must stop. It is 2014 and a crucial period. The prime minister and a few of his cabinet ministers have taken immense risks and ought to show the Greek people that they are responsibly leading the country into a new era. It’s unfair for them to undermine their own actions through appointments that eventually prove detrimental to society. And, please, no more excuses about being unable to find the right people to fill the positions and so on. It’s preferable to leave a few posts vacant as opposed to provoking voters who are willing to ignore their usual political preferences and support a serious effort.
This is not a day to whine, given that the country has achieved a great deal. The coalition has managed to keep Greece afloat and is now placing the country on the path to growth. The country wants to turn the page. In order to believe in this, it expects its leaders to show, tangibly, that they are also ready to turn the page.