End this fiasco

Four days of political horse-trading, amid unprecedented confusion and chaos, to pick the head of Greece?s interim government culminated in a fiasco Wednesday when a meeting between President Karolos Papoulias, Premier George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras came to an abrupt end.

Giorgos Karatzaferis, leader of the ultranationalist LAOS party, had earlier put on a vaudeville performance when leaving the Presidential Palace, where the meeting was being held.

After about 100 hours of contemplation, Papandreou came up with the name of Filippos Petsalnikos, the parliamentary speaker who has a good command of the German language. Papandreou chose to shun Lucas Papademos as, for him, the former vice president of the European Central Bank represents the system of former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, whom Papandreou has pushed to the political fringe. All around the world and throughout history, civil conflict has been the harshest form of conflict. We were Wednesday reminded of that tragic fact.

Since climbing to power, Papandreou has sought to incriminate the Greek right, former PM Costas Karamanlis, and Karamanlis?s successor Antonis Samaras, after he refused to back the memorandum in Parliament. Papandreou tried to persuade European officials that ND?s leadership is a destabilizing factor in the EU. Nevertheless, Samaras has clearly stated that he will accept as leader of the crisis government anyone proposed by Papandreou.

This transition government — whether it is led by Petsalnikos or Papademos or anyone else — has been tasked with a near-impossible mission. Rather, its real objective is to vote through the latest debt agreement and lead the country to general elections after completing all the necessary procedures.

Well-meaning citizens thought that Papandreou?s stepping down from power last Sunday would basically mean the abolition of the existing political system and that the country?s administration would, for a considerable period of time, pass into the hands of internationally renowned personalities. Perhaps they will be proved right. Usually, however, a country?s political class is done away with by means of a coup — and this is something no one wants to see.

The political system must finally put an end to the uncertainty and prevent such a danger by installing a new administration. Greece must stop making a spectacle of itself at home and abroad.