The good outcome

We were accustomed to one-party governments in Greece and now many voters and foreign observers are afraid the only thing that is certain in Sunday?s elections is that we will no longer have such stability. This could lead to the paralysis of a political system which has no experience of compromise and cooperation. Confined by the strict framework of our agreement with our creditors, we have no time to waste before we implement the measures they demand. The bad outcome of the election, then, would be political instability, a freeze on loan payments, further withering of the economy and social turmoil.

The good outcome would be political stability that would enable social calm and open the way for the political system?s renewal, for the economy?s revival and for the judiciary to function, so that citizens may believe at last that after their many sacrifices the corner has been turned.

The parties can cooperate when they have to, despite what some leaders have been saying. We must not forget that the Papademos government was formed in November when both PASOK and New Democracy found themselves at a dead end and could not carry the weight of governing on their own. That is why we can hope that within a few days of the election we may have a governing coalition.

If this results from the cooperation of parties whose priority is Greece?s continued membership of the eurozone, their leaders will have to stop claiming that they will force new elections if they don?t win a single-party majority, and they must understand that their mission is to solve the country?s problems and not try to score points against each other.

If the ?anti-memorandum? forces forge a front of clashing ideologies and ambitions, the best that we can hope for is that they will fall apart before they cause the country irreparable damage. In this case, citizens will be able to determine, at last, which forces make promises that have no relation to reality. In this way, these parties will suffer the lack of credibility that has stricken the parties that wielded power over the past 40 years.

The best outcome would be a coalition that can ensure stability, allowing new political forces to emerge — either from within the parties or from society. In an abnormal situation, the powers that will hold sway will be the extremists who know how to exploit such conditions. In this case, the country will lose even more precious time in dangerous dead ends.

Hopes for a good outcome are based on the fact that when the going gets very tough the Greeks wake up and show daring and pragmatism.