The behavior of elected representatives

The behavior of elected representatives

The growing frustration with politics felt by most Greeks will be expressed in the upcoming elections with an increase in abstention and a tendency to reject systemic parties and strengthen fringe formations – phenomena that will make it more difficult to govern, while also affecting the legitimacy of any government.

To deal with and reverse this negative trend, a lot must happen over time. However, a first step, which can be taken immediately, is to upgrade the quality of the elected representatives: in the Greek Parliament, the European Parliament, in regional and municipal governments.

As has been repeatedly pointed out, voters themselves bear a significant part of the responsibility for the current disappointing situation. They must choose the best candidates, and this isn’t just about ability and knowledge, but also about morals and general behavior.

At some point, whichever party people support, they must realize they need to vote for candidates who have something to show for themselves in terms of professional accomplishments and in whom they recognize quality and efficiency. This is the only way they will respect and trust them, instead of disparaging them.

In discussions over the Orthodox Easter holidays, several people across the ideological spectrum expressed disappointment with politicians. A large number of them have come to the rather exaggerated and unfair conclusion that “they’re all the same,” and tend to either abstain or vote against the big parties.

Recently, there have been several cases of European Parliament lawmakers, from different political groupings, whose acts have provoked public anger and embarrassed their parties. One positive development here is that party leaders seem to have started paying attention to society’s anger and in most of these cases have reacted immediately.

Politicians must behave in a way that does not offend voters. In this context, and because it is quite possible that after the May elections certain political parties might have to cooperate to form a government, it would be better if members of different parties were more careful with respect to what they do, but also what they say.

Major parties cannot afford to build an outreach strategy only to risk it being destroyed by extreme statements from their members or the unfortunate adoption of inappropriate slogans. Although manners, morality and self-restraint should be self-evident behavior in politics, unfortunately profanity and extreme statements are often the norm. 

As we approach the elections, citizens must not be swayed by the image, but engage, be informed, and evaluate for themselves the quality of each candidate. The only way to improve the level of their representatives is to vote for MPs, MEPs, regional governors and mayors, accomplished individuals who will not let them down.

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