While up until the last election we had become accustomed to referring to the coalition government led by Antonis Samaras as one featuring a split personality, no political psychoanalyst could have ever imagined the bipolar syndromes governing the current administration.
I admit I would hate to find myself in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s position of having to manage the mightily profound divisions and contradictions displayed by his cabinet ministers and officials who consistently express their opinions regarding all major issues.
In the case of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), for instance, no matter how hard the government tries to soften the edges, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis and Alternate Minister for Shipping Theodoris Dritsas have expressed two completely opposing positions. When it comes to public order issues, realism and common sense are clearly clashing with a point of view which more or less dictates that everything and anything goes. The same is true in the field of education.
All this is taking place at a time of no major decision-making given that the country is still in a kind of limbo, in the name of a never-ending negotiation.
Nevertheless, what lies behind all of this are SYRIZA’s deeper and most crucial contradictions. One group has made it blatantly clear that it would like to see Greece exit the eurozone, possibly even the European Union altogether, in order for its leaders to be able to manage both the country and the economy as they please. Another group of activists are opposed to all kinds of compromise and are not at all interested in exercising power in the conventional way. Finally, there is a third group of people who, lacking any true experience in the management of vital issues, are trying to balance between centrifugal powers without the country exploding all over them.
There are those who believe that the only solution would be for Tsipras to go his own way, in other words for him to take advantage of his current political star quality and develop a new center-left movement, essentially becoming a new Andreas Papandreou. But it’s already too late for that.
Most political leaders take care of party business by “chopping off” heads while still in opposition. Tsipras chose not to go down that road, either because he couldn’t bear it or because he became addicted to a particular way of partisan and political operation.
So while he is now trying to keep everybody happy, the daily management of state affairs, especially given the current conditions, is merciless and cannot wait for people to reach political maturity, let alone conduct endless partisan activities. The prime minister will soon have to choose which direction to follow.