Asymmetric conflict

Asymmetric conflict

The political dispute between the government and the official opposition is shaping up as a clash between action and identity, between management and accusations, between reality and fairy tales. Common to both sides are their cynicism and the hyperbole with which they attack each other. From there on, though, the New Democracy government refers to all aspects of its term in office, comparing itself with the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition in each sector, whereas SYRIZA focuses on attacking Kyriakos Mitsotakis and leading members of ND as people, portraying them as enemies of humanism, as a danger to democracy. That is why the story of a little refugee girl dying on the Greek-Turkish border last summer provoked such an unbridled response by the opposition, which rushed to present the government as inhuman. Because in this way, the opposition does not need to go head-to-head with the government on its work, where the comparison is not in SYRIZA’s favor. That is why the party is unable to back down, to admit that in the case of “little Maria” it succumbed to the temptation to demonize the government without investigating the case thoroughly. Admitting to the mistake would undermine SYRIZA’s “moral superiority.” In this case, it would appear the party’s undermining its own credibility in the eyes of those who can judge it for irresponsibility and superficiality is deemed a lesser evil. 

And so, the surveillance scandal has been a godsend for the official opposition party. Every revelation, every hint of a revelation, encourages SYRIZA to persist with this tactic, to the point where we wonder what its election campaign would be if the government had not handed it this opportunity. Clearly the government is responsible for serious errors, the extent of which is still to be revealed. It is imperative that there be a reckoning and that those responsible are punished. Most likely, this affair will cost the government dear. However, it is also possible that many citizens may see the scandal as serious but not to the extent of its being the main criterion by which to judge the government. That is what ND is aiming for, listing its achievements on the many different issues that comprise daily life, the economy, security and foreign affairs. On this field, ND is playing without a rival. SYRIZA is watching, its only hope a government own goal.

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