OPINION

Political gambling

Following six months of improvisation and groundless rhetoric on the part of the government, of the kind also voiced by opposition SYRIZA with regard to memorandum policy, as well as intransigence displayed by the troika, we have now entered a phase of political gambling as a result of the presidential vote being brought forward, and, if that fails, a new round of general elections.

Now everything depends (or so they say) on 25 deputies who are not part of the government majority. These are MPs who have either broken away from conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK over policy disagreement or belong to anti-bailout parties. Never before have members of the Greek Parliament faced such a dilemma.

A normal government would have utilized the time between now and the end of February (the deadline for the presidential election) to conclude negotiations with the country’s lenders and secure what both ND and PASOK have been heralding for months: a coordinated memorandum exit as well as the infamous safety net. The election of a new president would follow and if this proved fruitless the administration would then call a general election. If the government were to be defeated at the ballot it would still have accomplished its mission and the responsibility would lie exclusively with the voters.

But it appears that the last round of negotiations with the troika showed that developments would, one way or another, prove to be unfavorable and that the introduction of fresh measures – unbearable for citizens – was unavoidable, simply because the government’s reading of figures and forecasts was unacceptable to Greece’s lenders.

So it seems that it was decided that the time bomb should be passed on to SYRIZA. Efforts to save the country are being replaced by efforts to avoid an electoral defeat of fatal dimensions. We shall not condemn Prime Minister Antonis Samaras or his deputy Evangelos Venizelos if they are indeed governed by such logic. The sweeping out of the parties they’re in charge of would have a devastating effect not just on themselves – which is of no interest to anyone besides their families – but the country’s stability.

As a result of all this, and with the complicity of all parties, the country is now hostage to the whole situation. In this case of casino politics the roulette ball is spinning fatefully, but there is no hope of anyone winning. The die will fall on zero and whatever is on the table will go to the house, in other words the country’s lenders.

The years following May 2010, when the demise of Greece could have also swept the European system, were not in vain. Our lenders’ interests have been secured in an absolute way and they have mapped out a detailed strategy for dealing with a SYRIZA government. This is the final phase of the drama.