Statements that are not made in earnest, promises that are not intended to be kept, proclamations that are soon forgotten and, of course, accusations against rivals have become standard practice in pre-election campaigns, especially in Greece and particularly when those vying for power have also put their own political survival at stake – as is the case with Alexis Tsipras right now. Everyone knows that the political landscape the day after the polls will be shaped by the performance of the former prime minister and his main rival for the top spot, New Democracy chief Evangelos Meimarakis.
These elections, however, will not just determine which party comes first in the voters’ preferences. They will also determine what shape the next government will take, given that the only prediction that can be made with any certainty right now is that it is highly unlikely anyone will win an outright majority. Ultimately, they will also determine what will happen to Greece, which is hanging by a thread and which still has a long way to climb before it begins to see any signs of salvation. Given these factors, logic dictates that no party can – and normally no party should should want to – take on the task of pulling the country out of its dreadful predicament all by itself.
Nevertheless, Tsipras appears bent on continuing to behave in the same irrational way he has done so far. Maybe because he is addicted (the only time he behaved rationally was when he signed the new bailout deal), or perhaps because he remembers that putting a spin on this irrational behavior is what got him into power in the first place. He mustn’t forget, though, that it was this mad approach to governance that landed the country in the current mess. And the onus rests on his shoulders alone.
In this respect, both Tsipras and his people should try to avoid the populist rhetoric that has done so much damage in the past and the blatant contradictions in respect to the memorandum that he signed and the reasons for which he did so. More importantly, they need to stop saying that SYRIZA, or what’s left of it, will not cooperate with any of Greece’s pro-European parties if need be after the elections. Such talk only creates the impression that the only party Tsipras is willing to co-govern with (again) is Independent Greeks and its leader Panos Kammenos.
This could all be put down to pre-election posturing, to the quest to bring as many fleeing SYRIZA voters back into the fold, but only if we had not gone through what we’ve gone through in the past seven months. However, experience it we did, and now we know that the Greek left is ruthless and basically indifferent to the fate of the country as long as it gets its hands on power. The aim of the new SYRIZA under Tsipras is to blackmail voters into casting their ballot in favor of the leftist party by indirectly suggesting that SYRIZA needs to win so that it can form a government.