OPINION

Lightning-rod party

In examining the findings of the recent opinion polls, one gets the impression that although people have specific political preferences which dictate their electoral behavior, they are not particularly interested in politics. A considerable percentage are quite skeptical, not only toward the two major parties but also toward the smaller ones, to the degree that they say they have little expectations from the new administration – whatever that may be. Public skepticism is a result of the nature of the problems, their intensity or, perhaps, of the view that these problems are in fact shaped by outside, uncontrollable factors. But this stance may well be an outgrowth of the broader censure of politics. The government should, of course, bear the brunt of the blame. It is no coincidence that a considerable segment of society is heavily disillusioned with the administration’s performance so far. People protest at, or rather, are irked by the demeanor of ruling officials and their unwarranted ties with business interests. Within this context, the New Democracy opposition clearly has a clear edge over PASOK. Yet no one can claim that the conservative party is capable of arousing the public, of creating any momentum for change, of sweeping everything forward. This is because New Democracy functions as a lightning rod for protest votes and not as a force that could «subvert» a system that has reached its lowest point of equilibrium. Perhaps it would be risky to urge New Democracy to act that way at a time when it feels it is only a step from winning the elections. Doing that could jeopardize its goal by provoking the masses, especially a considerable section of our fellow-citizens who feel safe at this lowest point of equilibrium.