OPINION

Lowering the bar

In normal countries, elections take place when a government ends its mandate or loses the majority.

Clearly Greece is not a normal country, given that the leaders of every opposition party start crying out for “elections now” just months after the ballot boxes have been removed.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has told the country that his mind is set on the next round of general elections taking place in 2016. Nevertheless, the premier is making the same mistake as his cabinet ministers in that they are overdramatizing both the European Parliament and local elections which are set to take place in May next year.

Seen from a certain perspective, this was an “obligatory” mistake, in the sense that the dramatization supported the efforts being made by the government to secure a decent arrangement regarding the issue of the country’s sovereign debt beforehand.

On the other hand, however, the dramatization of the electoral result could act as a disruptive force for both the country and the administration.

There is another way to handle the situation. As far as the elections for the European Parliament are concerned, the best approach would be a cool-headed, almost blaze attitude. It’s the European Parliament elections after all; people will vote as they please and a vote of protest is to be expected, including voting for the extremes.

Main coalition partner New Democracy could also opt for another route in the case of local elections by abandoning its efforts for purely partisan candidates in major cities. Supporting the same decent candidates in Athens, Thessaloniki and other big cities together with socialist PASOK and the Democratic Left is one solution.

Naturally, party officials would make a major fuss over this, but, if you think about it, all three parties stand to win, regardless of the results.

There is no reason for capable government officials to tarnish their image, while the result will not be one of major political importance in any case.

Besides, in the civilized world, citizens tend to vote for a good mayor who they believe will remove garbage from the streets and take good care of the city, as opposed to specific parties and ideologies.

The government will have to face numerous and dangerous challenges up until May, 2014.

If it does reach that point, however, the best thing would be for it to lower the bar and carry on operating as an administration whose mandate will come to an end in 2015 or 2016.