The problem with the parliamentary lottery is that there isn’t going to be a lucky winner. The reason for this is because the battle to win in numbers and the balance of power and the exhausting bargaining of the last few days can only work against the credibility of parliamentary democracy. In the final tally, no one will emerge strengthened – neither the country’s political system nor Greek society. We’re seeing a migration of deputies to other parties and the rearrangement of the political map in terms of who is with whom and especially for how long or, indeed, for how many votes.
The corrosive consequences of the economic crisis and the government coalition between leftist SYRIZA and right-wing Independent Greeks, as long as it lasted, are now visible both inside and outside Parliament. This is not just another important juncture in history, a comment on the news or a warning in all directions. The “mess of history” is returning from an unsettled past to an unclear present. The Prespes agreement is giving rise to rallies and strong shockwaves, nationalists and anti-nationalists are getting mixed up, and it has become a case of “every man for himself.”
In this turmoil, the recently resigned defense minister Panos Kammenos was seen dancing zembekiko to a song by Eftychia Papayiannopoulou, which included the lyrics, “From high to low and from a lot to very little, oh how my life has turned out, and from the top I ended up at the bottom.”
Not even the government could have imagined such an impressive result. A month ago, the Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung published an article titled “No journey to Ithaca – in Greece, the old system survived despite the crisis,” in which it explained that the reform of the dysfunctional Greek state and the ailing economy has not been achieved.
But the unwanted reforms are taking their revenge. The continued survival of the “old” in the political system – particularly at a time when the prime minister and government officials vehemently deny this is happening – is not without cost. In fact, things are even worse. When a government pretends to represent something new but proves every day to be the oldest of the old, the message it sends is that there is no tomorrow. There is only today and the distribution of power. This may feed political cliques and fill dancefloors, but it doesn’t build countries. It only builds shacks.