Election ennui

Election ennui

If you’re not a supporter of SYRIZA and are hoping for some surprises in the upcoming elections, please raise your hand high so we can all see it. For the past eight years, opinion polls have consistently shown Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the conservative prime minister, in the lead. Even if these polls are manipulated, as the leftist opposition suggests, they cannot completely reverse the advantage of New Democracy. The wiretapping scandal, which dealt a severe blow to the country’s democratic norms and institutions, does not seem to have affected voter preferences significantly. Similarly, the Tempe rail disaster in February had only a brief impact on voter attitudes.

In addition to all of that, we have seen this scenario play out before. The party that is polling in second place is pushing for multiple TV debates, while the front-runner is refusing. Party officials are scouring provincial television shows and social media posts, hoping to find a statement by a candidate that will put their opponents in a difficult position. There will be an abundance of promises for the future, criticism of the present or the past, and praise for the present, “despite the fact that we haven’t been able to do everything.”

At some point, the TV debate will take place and we will discuss the style choices of the debate participants and hear the prime minister assure us that Greece will not relapse into its catastrophic past.

The leader of the main opposition will speak of the grim present and demand the prime minister’s resignation, claiming that the country can no longer tolerate his leadership. Nikos Androulakis, the leader of socialist PASOK, will likely be asked repeatedly about his preferred prime-ministerial candidate in the event of a coalition government, to which he will respond with his party’s unwavering commitment to serving the people, from the hardworking farmer to the struggling small business owner and rent-paying worker.

The Tempe rail disaster in February had only a brief impact on voter attitudes

We will also be intrigued to learn more about the radical Dimitroula plan, proposed by Yanis Varoufakis, leader of the anti-austerity MeRA25 party and former finance minister. However, as we’ve already experienced similar events in 2015, surprises may be few and far between.

We anticipate the general secretary of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), Dimitris Koutsoumbas, to deliver a scathing critique of capitalism and the two-party system. We also eagerly await his potential viral quote, similar to his now-famous “But that’s who you really are” remark.

Our only hope for excitement during the debate lies with the far-right Greek Solution leader Kyriakos Velopoulos, a dubious salesman who has advertised products such as handwritten letters from Jesus in the past. It is possible that he will offer an intriguing conspiracy theory to make the two-hour event worth our time.

Certainly, politics will always have its unpredictability, as famously summed up by former British prime minister Harold Macmillan as the sudden emergence of “events, dear boy, events.” The tragic incident at Tempe took everyone by surprise, and given Greece’s strong inclination toward the unforeseeable, perhaps the government should offer a pre-election gift and suspend rail services for a week.

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