OPINION

Blatant distortion

The provocative decision by the Bush administration to attack Iraq has prompted many analysts at home and abroad to invoke the controversial presidential elections in 2000 in order to cast doubt on the public legitimacy of this war. US President George W. Bush is said to lack the strong and incontestable public mandate needed to launch war, as, for many Americans, he actually vote-rigged his way to the White House. This view, of course, highlights a deep democratic sentiment and respect for voter preference. However, as is usually the case in our country, the advocates of the power of the popular vote come from the Left, particularly from Synaspismos Left Coalition, a party that is keen to portray itself as the sole guardian of our democratic morality and values. So, at a time when leftist pundits and representatives of other self-styled «democratic forces» are talking about Bush’s alleged ballot manipulation, Greece itself is seeing a blatant distortion, if not reversal, of the public mandate regarding the recent municipal and local elections. It is common knowledge that the ballot gave a landslide victory to New Democracy over PASOK’s ruling socialists. Furthermore, the fact that the conservative opposition had, from the very beginning, tried to present these elections as a vote of confidence for the government, gave the outcome especial weight. This was, however, totally ignored, disregarded or distorted by the Synaspismos leadership, which decided to form «new majorities» exclusively with PASOK in the three major bodies of local administration (including the association of Greece’s prefectural authorities, ENAE). This act does not so much harm ND as insult the ordinary citizen, who sees his choice being derided and annulled.