Whether the general elections are held soon or just before the September 2019 deadline, it is clear that we have entered the pre-election period.
These polls will be different from those of 2015 because they will be the first to be carried out with SYRIZA in government and in power.
Today we no longer hear the complaint that although the party won elections it did not gain power.
On the contrary, now it is SYRIZA which determines the electoral process and has at its disposal the whole array of power’s privileges – from selecting the time of the elections to controlling the state machinery to providing handouts that have traditionally stood for politics here.
Elections are not only a moment when the citizens choose those who will represent them and govern them; they are also where we can judge behavior and policies.
Governments and opposition parties are measured against the needs of the country and the challenges of the time, and they should try to win over voters with their proposals for the country’s stability and prosperity. In theory, at least.
Today, Greece needs cooperation and consensus to create conditions that will allow Greeks and foreigners to invest their money and time here, that will offer opportunities to young people; it is by these criteria that we must evaluate the protagonists of our political life.
If parties and candidates do not convince voters that their aim is to serve them, it becomes clear that their only concern is their election.
This encourages citizens’ cynicism, prompting them to elect those who promise them the most, who tell the better lies (whether they believe them or not).
This behavior is so ingrained that those who want to tell the truth are not believed.
In nearly two centuries of independence, the relationship between politician and voter has become a haggling match, with power traded for favors, rather than an institution for managing reality and for pursuing a better future.
After eight years of crisis, it would be truly beneficial if the lies had exhausted themselves and if we citizens could see clearly where we stand and the course that parties propose.
So far, though, we see that the government is trying to prettify things, it is preparing to buy votes and is investing in divisive tactics.
The opposition has responded to the challenge and is keeping tension high; but it has presented more ideas for growth, beyond the overtaxing of some in order to distribute handouts to others.
As the elections approach, let us hope that we will be able to see which parties are harking back to the past and which are trying to point to the future, which are offering ideas, and which of them see power as consensus, responsibility and cooperation, and not as privilege.