OPINION

In search of a modern center-right

Discussions regarding the Greek center-right party abound these days. The prevailing point of view, more or less, is that someone ought to revamp it.

Of course this makes sense if you consider that the center-right has not appeared so divided in years, possibly not since the days of the major confrontation between supporters of Constantinos Mitsotakis and those in favor of Miltiadis Evert.

The question that no one seems to be in a position to answer is the following: Assuming that you get everyone, from centrist Stefanos Manos to right-wing Giorgos Karatzaferis, under the same political roof, what happens next? Will their supporters act accordingly, like children following the Pied Piper to the final destination, irrespective of the kind of policies the government is pursuing? What kind of strategy will this unified center-right party, which will spread from the ultra-liberal to the extreme populist right of the political spectrum, follow? What could all these party officials who keep referring to statesman Constantine Karamanlis – who, incidentally, would have placed them as local councilor candidates in municipal district elections, at the most – agree to?

A center-right party incorporating Panayiotis Psomiadis and just about everyone and anyone would provide absolutely no guarantee with regard to better government, compared to today. Quite the contrary. Among those supporting this grand reunion are people who destroyed some of the country’s vital sectors, people who pillaged state coffers in the most irresponsible ways. Perhaps all those hoping that something like this will happen believe it would feel great to sit at the same table again and that everything would be like before. But that is not the case. There is no more money left to hand out and for people to be rehired in the public sector. The kind of statism glorified by the populist right is no longer a model for governing. Society may yearn for the good-old days of clientelism but knows only too well that those days are long gone.

Greece needs a modern, certainly not lumpen, center-right based on law and order, a party that will respect the rules of a truly laissez-faire economy and display a deeply pro-European stance. The party currently has in its ranks highly capable members, people capable of doing much better than the previous generation of politicians who graduated from university but never actually worked in the real world and proceeded to make a mess of things. The point is not for everyone to become one big group of friends again and have a good time. The point is to develop a modern center-right that will govern the country with a strong point of view, will power and technocratic adequacy. We are looking for people to manage the country, not for people to hang out at the local taverna.