OPINION

The crucial role of the opposition

Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras has a very important institutional role to play as the main contender in the next general elections, whenever they may be held. I honestly hope that he will not make the same mistakes as his predecessors by spending his time slinging mud at his opponents rather than preparing for the tough job of governing the country should the opportunity arise.

The rhetorical style adopted by Tsipras and many of his associates is basically accusatory. Every reform, investment and measure is a ?scandal? and ?fishy.? Sure, demanding action on any scandal is more than welcome, and, truth be told, the Greek political system has plenty of skeletons in its closets. But this is one thing, while lambasting every privatization and large investment is quite another.

George Papandreou of PASOK did the exact same thing when he was in opposition. Once he was prime minister, though, he had to swallow the privatization of state-owned companies whether he liked it or not. Maybe SYRIZA believes that it can play outside the system if in government, but history has taught us that nobody can escape fundamental systemic parameters, no matter how passionate their revolutionary fervor is.

Tsipras also has a tendency to burn bridges. He ought to know that if he were to lead, he would need others to do it with and calling nearly all of your political colleagues traitors is not the way to go about creating allies. The situation in Greece is critical and no one should exclude the possibility that we may need a unity government that includes the participation of all parties, without, of course, the obvious exceptions.

Tsipras is also burning bridges outside of Greece too. Maybe it is his lack of experience, but vehement attacks against foreign governments and leaders should not be launched without some forethought, because one day he may have to cooperate or even compromise with them.

SYRIZA?s most obvious shortcoming, however, is its lack of officials and plans showing that it is up to the task of governing the country.

We have often said that Greece needs a good opposition as much as it needs a good government. It is very dangerous for the people of a country to feel that they have no viable alternative if things go awry with the current government. So maybe a little bit more moderation in the rhetoric, a little less bullying from certain party representatives and a department put together solely for planning rather than mudslinging would help SYRIZA help the country to have a bigger safety net in case of a fall.