The country desperately needs alternative political solutions. There’s still a slight chance that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will turn towards the center and govern efficiently enough, distancing himself from extremes for a while. Yet based on the experience of the last few months, we are entitled to question whether or not he wants to and, more importantly, can actually do so.
Meanwhile, time is running out. Northern Europe is not prepared to give us more time or chances. The opposition is divided and lacking leadership, and is not a credible alternative for the time being. This must change soon.
The possible solutions are obvious. New Democracy’s political cycle seems to have come to an end – the party’s debts and non-existent organizational abilities demonstrate this. While several top officials are eyeing the conservative leadership, no one in particular seems to be standing out. One solution would be for the party to be re-launched under a different name with a clear ideological mark and possibly officials from other political sectors. Greece will need a center-right government following the SYRIZA chapter. In its current form New Democracy cannot meet this historical challenge. To a large extent the party is identified with a past that the people want to forget. New faces, a new brand and a clear opening are required.
Another solution that is on the cards is that of a large pro-European coalition. It is being discussed broadly and is based on the union of ND, PASOK and To Potami. This has several problems. To begin with, there is no indisputable leader to spearhead such a formation, although solutions do exist regarding a potential candidate for prime minister to be put forward by such a coalition. There are also questions regarding whether such a formation would actually get more votes than all three parties together.
A third solution is for things to stay as they are. Many experts believe that SYRIZA will be crushed by its own internal problems and that Tsipras will be done by the end of the year. They estimate that To Potami will survive politically, ND will stand on its feet and that PASOK will not collapse. “Given that nobody can beat Tsipras in the next election why not prepare for the one after that?” they argue.
Maybe they are right. But I’m afraid that no one will wait for us to mature politically. These are landmark moments demanding rifts and brave decisions of the kind that in the old days gave rise to leaders such as Eleftherios Venizelos and Constantine Karamanlis.
SYRIZA did not meet the challenge of the youth’s angry and partially justified demand for something radically new. If the political middle class does not respond with something radically revamped and persuasive the country will face chaos and anarchy. The current status quo is not a solution.