There are many reasons – and many of them obvious – why such attention is being given to internal developments in the Movement for Change (KINAL).
The first televised debate between the KINAL leadership candidates will also be watched by people who did not vote for the party in the last election.
The conditions are ripe for a bolstering of KINAL, not just the third largest political party in Greece and thus of interest to a significant slice of Greek society, but due to the developing political landscape, a potentially critical political force and a necessary partner in any future government.
The most likely outcome, if the party manages to remain united after this internal election and adopts a centrist and balanced approach, is that it will participate in coalition governments regardless of the winner.
Whether the next elections are called early, in the spring or autumn of 2022, or the prime minister remains true to his commitment and serves a full four-year term, the most likely development is that in the next elections the formation of a government will require more than one party.
The first of these elections, using proportional representation, will not lead to a government. Even if the numbers are there for a coalition between New Democracy and KINAL, its majority will be razor thin. Additionally, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has repeatedly stressed that his goal is an absolute parliamentary majority.
A potential offer by the second or third party, when the first is given a mandate to form a government, for a coalition of all three leading parties will create some quandaries and may lead to a shift in the landscape, but, even if it is costly in so many ways, most probably Greece will have a second election.
However, even in these second elections, using the electoral law that this government put in place, New Democracy will probably win, but will most likely not have an absolute majority as it will probably receive less than 37.5% of the vote. In such a case it will need to work with another party and the most obvious partner is KINAL.
From this standpoint, the insistence of all KINAL leadership candidates on claiming that they will not work with any other party seems wrong. If anything, they should be doing the opposite. They should make it clear to everyone, on both sides of the political spectrum, that not only are they willing to work with other parties, but that it is their strategic goal.
They will not be a “crutch,” but an instrumental government partner, a force for stability, and a useful checks and balances factor.
They need to send out the message that they are ready to cooperate with anyone for the good of the country as clearly and loudly as possible.
It is a responsible message, a patriotic one. If they can communicate it in the right way and do so consistently, it could be KINAL’s strongest advantage as it directly contradicts the efforts of both large parties to polarize society.
A section of public opinion reacts negatively to this fruitless confrontation and desires efficient cooperation, grounded in realism and common sense. A renewed and electorally reinforced centrist party could fill this vacuum and use it come election time, not only for its own advantage, but that of the country.