Conservatives are not looking for entertainment
New Democracy is going through a crisis after two successive defeats in the space of just a few months. However, it will not fizzle out, as was the case with PASOK when the years of false prosperity came to an end. The Socialist party was very much a grouping that was simply helped by circumstances and its voters spontaneously gravitated toward SYRIZA.
New Democracy is the party of the country’s conservative citizens, or the right, in short. And the right in Greece, with its particular social characteristics – its “anachronisms” as some would say – managed to survive even when the Venizelist regime executed its leader, Dimitris Gounaris, and his close associates in 1922. It did not just survive, but has since governed the country repeatedly.
We lament the image that New Democracy displayed in the period leading up to the date it was supposed to elect a new party leader, and particularly the fiasco of that ballot being canceled on Sunday because of a technical glitch.
The three young party cadres and one veteran who were vying for the top spot lost their tempers and their composure, and became a subject of ridicule for their political rivals. It was badly handled. Sure, they disappointed their supporters, but that is no reason for the party to die. Order will be restored once more because New Democracy is not just any other party, it is a vital forum of timeless ideals and beliefs. It is not the sole voice of the middle class, because Greece also has a center and liberals and these two elements are not easy to bring together, particularly under the present circumstances.
However, throughout its history, the leadership race in New Democracy has always been held between candidates who expressed either the conservative majority or the liberal minority, which together form the center-right. In this race, Kyriakos Mitsotakis represents the liberal center-right and Adonis Georgiadis something quite different and sort of inexplicable. New Democracy’s conservative majority has two candidates to choose from: Evangelos Meimarakis and Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas. This is the only thing that causes some confusion.
We will not discuss the leadership skills of the candidates because leaders, unless monsters of nature, are products of a long process of grooming. But the staff of each of the candidates consist of stage directors, social media managers and other such non-intellectual individuals.
Based on all this, we should not expect anything amazing to come from the elections. All we can hope for is some dignity instead of skittishness, smug rhetoric and petulance. The race is for a leader of the conservatives, not a court jester.