OPINION

Grilling the politicians

Now that we have been badly bitten several times, we had better starting being a lot shyer about whom we place our trust in. General elections are just around the corner and it is time we started thinking about who we will vote for. This time, more than at any other, we all need to be skeptical and also very demanding.

First of all we need to start asking our political leaders questions, directly and without hesitation, questions such as who they plan to govern with and who they have in mind to appoint to a number of crucial sectors. And we must not accept vague responses and platitudes such as ?We?ll see to all that after the elections.? ?After? the elections is tomorrow and Greece has no time to waste and no leeway to make any more mistakes.

After all, in most European countries, like in other parts of the world, every candidate for prime minister is obliged to inform the public of the people to whom he or she will be listening on issues of policy and crucial sectors, be they political officials such as ministers or close aides and advisers.

The second important question we need to ask is what they intend to do about the country?s finances, how they mean to achieve a budget surplus and what they will do with the public sector workers who are to be made redundant, according to the deal Athens signed with its creditors.

These are questions that mainly concern PASOK, New Democracy, the Democratic Left, the Democratic Alliance and Drasi) which have stated that they will adhere to the commitments made by Greece. This, of course, does not mean that the other parties shouldn?t be grilled as rigorously. In fact, it is those who insist that we don?t need this measure of austerity and fiscal discipline, and that the European Union will ultimately let us off the hook, who need to explain exactly where all of this optimism comes from, so maybe we can share it too.

These coming elections promise to be very tough indeed. People no longer believe in anything, nor in anyone, and they are loath to be taken in once again by big talk and easy promises. The task at hand is for the parties that support Greece remaining in the eurozone to prove that they have the right people and the right plan to achieve this. If they don?t, then they?d better hurry up.