Confusion before the ballot box

Never before has the Greek electorate had so many political parties to choose from or so much confusion about who they identify with most. Conservative voters used to know with absolute certainty who they’d cast their ballot for long before the countdown to elections began. But now, who do they have to choose from? Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s New Democracy, which entered the current fray as an anti-memorandum force and then ostensibly adopted a stance of maturity and responsibility, which flirted with the far-right and then led the crackdown against it, and is now making populist and unfounded promises about an exit from the memorandum? Independent Greeks, who tout their patriotism yet did the country such a disservice by accusing the entire political system of being on the take? Or should they vote for the “anti-systemic” Golden Dawn, which continues to mar the Parliament and democracy it serves even as it enjoys the privileges that come with it?

Then we have the beleaguered center-left voters. They need to choose between Democratic Alignment (or PASOK by another name), whatever party George Papandreou, announces, To Potami, Democratic Left and a smattering of other democratic forces. But which really expresses the center-left?

Democratic Alignment, burdened by a long legacy of PASOK government, the party that shouldered, often unfairly, the brunt of the political cost of the crisis? Or should they choose the party of the former prime minister, who affable as he may seem is neither more nor less trying to prove that nepotism is a human right and who flits from champion of the memorandum to potential ally of SYRIZA? Then there’s To Potami, which despite its partnership with Spyros Lykoudis, a center-leftist to the bone, limits its rhetoric to the kind of hot air inspired by hipsters, such as the “conspiracy of good,” so as not to alienate its liberal fans. Or Democratic Left, which went from a bold pro-European force that was bold enough to give its support to the three-party coalition government but then withdrew for as yet unaccountable reasons and, after seeing its popularity plummet in the European elections, tried to be absorbed SYRIZA?

Last but not least, can leftists really identify with SYRIZA? A party that gave credence to the ludicrous claims made by Independent Greeks that one of its MPs was offered a bribe to back the government’s presidential candidate? A party that’s fishing for support among the ranks of Independent Greeks? A party that has taken every possible position on the economic crisis, from an extension of the memorandum to a unilateral exit from the eurozone?

So as they all continue to do their own thing, we are left with nothing to vote for.