Reaping the whirlwind

The long last-minute negotiations between the three-party coalition and the troika on the terms of the new bailout underline the difficulty that our politicians face in trying to undo the damage of past policies. They not only have to agree on harsh austerity measures demanded by our partners and creditors but they also have to manage the consequences within their own parties and among their supporters.

PASOK, which is mainly responsible for the bloated and inefficient public sector, has to persuade its members and supporters that it has not sold them out. New Democracy has a commanding lead in opinion polls because of the strong stand that it took against the first bailout conditions. Now that it is part of the government and has had to change tack it is facing stiff opposition from hardliners within the party. The extreme right-wing LAOS, which supported the first bailout, has seen its ratings plummet, prompting the party leader to take a harder line on the second bailout.

All three parties are reaping the whirlwind, after decades of doing nothing to prevent it.