NEWS

A great victory for the winners will mean big demands on the incoming ND government

The overwhelming majority of New Democracy officials admitted on Sunday night that they had not expected such a big electoral victory. The result of the voting showed that the need of a significant portion of Greek society for political change was even stronger than the ND leadership’s desire to beat its major opponent at last and to attain power. Now the burden is heavy for the victors. The leadership may be pleased about the great victory and ND leader Costas Karamanlis is entitled to feel deeply satisfied at having led ND to a triumphant win after 11 years of PASOK domination, because his strong performance as a contender neutralized the many media advantages of his opponent George Papandreou. However, the size of the victory has already deprived the incoming government of any room for delays or displays of timidity in dealing with certain national issues that require urgent changes. ND’s victory is impressive by any standard. Even had Karamanlis won by a smaller margin, the victory would still be of enormous significance. But the huge margin confirms some things that are highly important: – That the electorate wants a decisive change in the organization and operation of political, economic and administrative matters in Greece; – That citizens do not suffer from political and ideological phobias and neuroses that blur their judgment of national reality; – That people have not allowed their judgment to be affected by the daily bombardment (not only during election campaigns) by media that are dominated by entangled economic and political interests; and – That the media techniques which most of our politicians trust have their limits when the «products» they advertise contrast with harsh reality. PASOK may have made serious mistakes during the election campaign and its leader George Papandreou may have been politically meager, but ND won the battle because a large part of Greek society had already won its battle on the way to the polls. The scenarios presented by the entangled interests were ignored. The claims and promises made from the hustings about real development, the return of legality to Greece and the suppression of corruption in public life were taken seriously by citizens who could no longer endure PASOK staying in power. The results of Sunday’s election should convince not only defeated PASOK but also ND that society no longer tolerates politicians plying at making a good impression, that they are not easily fooled, and that they are very demanding. The problems of ordinary citizens are perfectly visible and very specific. Karamanlis mentioned many of them in the runup to the elections and won a lot of points because of it, unlike Papandreou with his generalizations and the confused and arrogant PASOK orators. Clarity In his campaign, Karamanlis offered voters an image of political clarity and a sincere readiness to upgrade politics. He presented ND as having a centrist face, with the ultra-right now rallying around another party, and its own former hard-core neoliberals now part of PASOK. Thus the electoral victory was even greater than Karamanlis expected.