A common fate

The government is condemned to complete its four-year term. This is not for reasons of national interest, as some commentators like to claim, but because, given the current power balance, it’s very unlikely that the three-party coalition would survive a snap election.

Public surveys suggest that New Democracy has built a narrow lead over SYRIZA. At the same time, however, PASOK’s percentage lies within the limits of statistical error, while Democratic Left (DIMAR), the other junior coalition partner, also seems to have suffered some losses. Simply put, it’s unlikely that the three parties that now make up Greece’s coalition will manage to cobble up a majority in a new Parliament.

It’s clear that the stability of the political system is tied to partisan interest, regardless of its success on a policy level. The truth is that self-interest can have a stabilizing effect, at least for a certain period of time.

But this is where the insane variable steps in, tilting the country’s coalition off balance. And there is little doubt that the main destabilizing force inside the coalition is PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.

The presumptuous, power-hungry Socialist chief thinks that with his stratagems, phony ideological posturing and rhetorical excesses he can bring back the voters who have turned their back on his party.

The politics of what is usually referred to as Greece’s middle, centrist, liberal or systemic left has always been interesting to watch. It has surfaced at various stages in the country’s modern history. It usually grows in power only to fade after having caused turmoil.

That is what happened to the late Eleftherios Venizelos and his Liberal Party, who created excess hope and delusions among the people only to be ousted under the slogan “Out with the thieves.” It was similar with the Center Union, an opportunistic coalition of motley political groups that degenerated into in-party feuding and disappeared under the leadership of Ioannis Zigdis. The same is now happening with PASOK, which has been replaced by an ersatz version – SYRIZA.

After the breakup of the Marxist left during the military dictatorship, the right has been the only steady parameter of our political system; and it is now breaking off from ND. Prime Minister and conservative leader Antonis Samaras behaves as if he thinks that he would be able to form a one-party government whenever a poll takes place. This is demonstrated by PASOK’s and DIMAR’s regular attempts to catch him off guard.

But the fate of the three is common. If they fail to realize this, the political system will break down – an eventuality that will be hard to lament.