The Greek government suddenly finds itself at the center of European and US attention. No one can predict the results of the negotiations procedure chosen by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which essentially challenges Germany’s autocracy within the framework of the European system.
The reigning impression is that Greece is surfing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and that Tsipras is on a tightrope while some people are gleefully awaiting his fall.
Tsipras is not just monopolizing Europe’s attention. He is also the leading figure on the local political stage while the main opposition seems to have fallen into a state of paralysis. The issue here is not when and if New Democracy president Antonis Samaras will resign from the party’s leadership, but that today’s leading center-right group is already banking on the end of the “leftist parenthesis” within a short period of time.
No one seems to realize that even if the country is completely destroyed – a development which no Greek citizen wishes for – that does not mean that the government elected through the last election will be overturned. In the case of a total collapse – in other words, a disorderly default – Tsipras would come across as the hero politician who collided with Berlin, while former Premier Samaras would be seen as the troika’s supposed subordinate.
In the case of a possible collapse, non-institutional powers could take over the country’s governing. This is why caution ought to be the supreme element during the government’s negotiations with our lenders, as well as Samaras’s strategy.
What happens within New Democracy is neither of interest to nor the responsibility of this column – for the time being, at least. What is certain, however, is that some traditional voters of the center-right party have gone toward Golden Dawn, Independent Greeks and Potami.
Therefore, the major danger in this case would be the gradual disintegration of New Democracy, a development which would not be averted through the election of a new leader as young as Tsipras. SYRIZA rose to power because it put across a political story which was very different from that of PASOK and New Democracy. What the conservatives ought to realize is that the pre-election period is over and that criticism cannot be exhausted in sartorial comments regarding ministers or whether the administration is scaling back on some of its original positions.
About-faces are the show’s climax on condition that the acrobat makes it back to the ground safely, after concluding all his midair stunts. This is true in gymnastics as much as in politics. It’s time for New Democracy to wake up to the fact that, politically, things have changed since the elections.