Right-wing ‘threat’

Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s recent publicity stunt has backfired, as the main issue it managed to raise is whether he will step down before the coming elections. Apart from his poignant reference to the government’s achievements – a common practice of all outgoing premiers – and claims that his contribution has not yet been appreciated by most voters, Simitis tried to emphasize two issues: the perils of a right-wing comeback and the likelihood of a destabilization in Greek-Turkish relations. The PM described the situation inside the conservative party as nebulous and, in an attempt to recreate the practices of Francois Mitterand that led to the rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, he suggested that right-wing elements secede from New Democracy. However, the main election issue at stake is the disentanglement of political and business interests and an end to the Socialists’ establishment mentality. Simitis also tried to play upon public insecurities by asserting that a defeat of the modernist government will jeopardize the pending solution of the Cyprus issue and the policy of detente in Greek-Turkish relations. In other words, Simitis thinks that any bargaining aimed at improving existing documents would have a destabilizing effect. By viewing the EU as a panacea, he believes that our EU peers no longer view their national interest as top priority. Never has a politician been deluded as he is. Finally, in an attempt to discredit their foes, the reformists have tried to exploit the archbishop’s remarks on Turkey’s EU hopes, overlooking the fact that other figures from the pope to Valery Giscard d’Estaing have questioned whether a Muslim nation can join a predominately Christian EU. Worse, Foreign Minister George Papandreou countered Christodoulos’s comments by saying that Rigas Ferraios sought the political emancipation of Balkan Jews.