Nothing is the same. After the advent of the pandemic (or since it, to be more precise) Greece’s political stage has undergone an inevitable transformation, along with so many other areas. The pandemic has narrowed the gap between the private and political, and this is reflected, in a way, in public opinion polls.
Apart from the striking rise in the public support for the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) party, which reached 18.5%, a recent survey published by Metron Analysis also presented how citizens feel about the impact of Covid-19 on their personal lives. Of those surveyed, 81% admitted it has affected them; 44% said it has done so “quite a lot” and 37% “a lot.” In terms of the pandemic’s psychological toll, 76% of respondents said they are tired but hanging in there, and 22% that they are seriously feeling the strain.
Following the election of Nikos Androulakis as KINAL’s leader the party, – the survey’s report suggests – has come to reflect the declining popularity mainly of leftist SYRIZA and, to a lesser extent, conservative New Democracy. This decline stems from the ambivalence of the ruling party’s message to society and the immoral and opportunistic games being played by the leftist opposition on the back of our suffering.
These factors have rendered KINAL a magnet for frustrated voters coming from the space somewhere between the two main parties – people who are not staunch supporters of any one party in particular.
The impact of the pandemic is also evident in other findings made by the poll, such as the considerable percentage of respondents who are deeply concerned about the quality of the public health system and inflation.
The things that darken our lives cannot be solved by toxic political bickering. The existential angst being felt by Greeks is everywhere: We fear for our lives and those of the people around us; we constantly wonder whether we are making mistakes in terms of how we try to uphold health safety measures; we test ourselves for the virus constantly; we are alarmed by the inordinate number of Covid-related deaths – and we are feeling the chokehold of rising prices get tighter.
The more that the distance between the private and the political lessens, the less politics will be able to rely on subsidies and handouts, and the less people will respond to the volley of accusations being exchanged between the parties or to the toxicity of an opposition that has run out of ammunition.
That 18.5% may also represent an expectation of change – in mind-set first and foremost.