Political mockery

What is more likely to provoke the mockery of the Greek citizen today – the recent statement by Costas Karamanlis that «New Democracy is certainly not a right-wing party» or the assurance by Costas Simitis’s government that PASOK is still a left-wing and socialist party? The question is posed in view of the exploitation of the ND leader’s statement by the government spokesman and some of the pro-PASOK press. One could also ask: Which of the two main political parties has gone through the bigger identity crisis over the past 15 years? I attribute secondary importance to parties’ determination of their own ideological and political identity, as I believe these statements are often adjusted to match current political realities and electoral goals. More significant is how credible these statements are to the electorate. Ruling party leaders should be more concerned about the qualititative rather than the quantitative data in opinion polls showing PASOK trailing ND. In a recent study by Metron Analysis, most respondents believe ND «has the best prospects for the future,» and «best expresses citizens’ needs.» It also shows ND more suitable than PASOK to tackle education, health, crime, unemployment and corruption. These findings show that most voters – irrespective of what ruling «reformists» would have us believe – believe that ND is a more contemporary and progressive party than PASOK.