Centrists facing a quandary

By Alexis Papachelas

Centrists, a peculiar species of voters that often determine the outcome of an election, face a quandary. They understand the need for political stability and keeping the government in power. Greece will not recover without stability and things will get rough in case of political chaos. The need for stability is deeply rooted in the minds of voters who are not led by loyalty to a particular party.

On the other hand, voters without a particular affiliation want to force the political system into radical change. Renewal versus stability is a tough choice that might be determined at the ballot box.

Conservative centrists lean toward New Democracy. They believe that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has governed firmly based on common sense and productive management. They also recognize the emergence of a handful of capable ministers. Things have been less successful when certain people, unfit to cater to the country’s needs, were appointed to key positions in the party mechanism. Lastly, the Baltakos affair has raised concerns among centrist voters. Ultimately, though, a large portion of these crucial voters will opt for ND, just as they did in the second 2012 election.

New center-left grouping Elia concerns cerebral voters who believe that if Evangelos Venizelos’s PASOK earns a low percentage the government’s stability could be affected. They are not large in number but are determined and don’t necessarily belong to old-school PASOK. Things would be easier if Elia represented more political powers and had more dynamic candidates. It’s a difficult situation because the grouping is addressing a particular kind of voter. The same is true of Democratic Left as its leader, Fotis Kouvelis, has lost his identity through contradictions in policy. Some still see a certain dignity and moderation in the party, but they are mainly put off by it.

Then comes To Potami. It’s difficult to say what this party believes in, though this could be a plus at a time when people favor something fresh without exactly knowing what this is. Many center-left and liberal voters will opt for To Potami, a party expressing a post-modern trend addressed to society’s young and dynamic part.

No one can predict if some centrists will go to SYRIZA. It seems unlikely given the party’s contradictions, which are scaring off moderate voters.

In order to understand how people will vote in the European elections we need to understand their dilemma. If they believe that the worst is over this could lead to chaos. If not, there will be fewer surprises. Somehow, what matters is not how much each pro-Europe party gleans but what they earn in total.