Running low on political capital

The attacks on Lucas Papademos, Greece?s interim prime minister, were to be expected. The parties and the politicians that pushed the country to the verge of bankruptcy are wary of any competition strong enough to steal the show from them.

The above may of course sound paradoxical at a time when fostering political ambitions would suggest signs of suicidal tendencies, but there is no logic behind man?s ambition.

Papademos is one of the few figures that this country can call on right now. The chaos of November last year, when the country?s political parties struggled for days before reaching an agreement on who should become the provisional prime minister in the power-sharing coalition government, demonstrated the very small range of choices available.

There are no people like Constantine Karamanlis or Eleftherios Venizelos to turn to at this time of great need. It?s hard to think of more than two or perhaps three people that could be called on to help should the political system mess up again. The need may in fact arise again in June or September given the fact that a large number of Greek politicians already appear to have returned to their old populist ways.

But our political establishment would be ill-advised to treat Papademos as a threat. He clearly does not have political ambitions nor does he have a soft spot for public relations stunts. Quite the opposite in fact.

The former central banker undertook an extremely difficult mission in an extremely hostile environment. But he managed to see it through with systematic painstaking effort while keeping a low profile.

Some say he has removed the Greek flag from his office, while others portray him as persona non grata among our European peers (nothing could be further from the truth), or criticize him as being ambivalent.

Sure, attacks of this kind are part of politics, particularly in a country that is in a state of prolonged decline like Greece is.

But some people must contemplate whether they can do better than that. Everyone hopes that the main political parties can live up to the circumstances and find solutions without relying on the same old politicians.

This is war. And we?d better think of what political capital we have left before making another mess of things in the name of partisan or private interests.

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