Following a nearly four-month pre-election campaign of sometimes vile machinations and inner-party civil strife, New Democracy finally got a new leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The unfancied one ended up on top.
The sense of euphoria felt by those who threw their support behind his candidature is more than justified.
Some worry the head could turn out to be “bodiless” due to the possible exit or inertia from the right of the party. These fears seem excessive, for the time being at least. This, however, is not a carousel trip; we are living in a depressed society and there is always a need for hope, or at least some kind of illusion.
The display of solidarity following Mitsotakis’s rise to the party’s presidency seemed theatrical. The announcement regarding the new president’s close circle of aides was also indicative.
Nevertheless, party officials who engaged in confrontation during the four-month period when they supported one of the other three candidates for the post, must now rally around the new leader. If, however, party unity is not achieved, then what appears to be a kind of reconciliation at the top of the party ladder will be seen as an effort by those most visible to remain in the limelight, resulting in even more alienation of supporters vis-a-vis the party’s historical leadership.
As a result of Greece’s bankruptcy, a “revolution” took place in the country’s center-left, leading to the demise of PASOK and the rise to power of SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras. It was the revolution of the needy. During his pre-election campaign Mitsotakis appeared to be the disrupter of ND’s partisan establishment, leading the revolt of the liberal elite, with the support of the center-left’s modernizers.
Conservative voters – if this kind of political species does indeed exist in society today – despise all types of “revolution” and prefer the continuous enrichment of the traditional system through the rising elements resulting from man’s evolution. Beyond this, “revolutions” of plebeian or elitist inspiration have no substance or reason to exist given that the prevailing financial situation has reduced the country to hostage status.
Nevertheless, given that all of this might be theoretical, ND’s unity is tied to the passion of overthrowing SYRIZA. Primitive instinct is what makes politics work, not rational thinking, as some would have it. A clash within ND could help rally SYRIZA and Independent Greeks, whose coalition has a slim majority.
The problems facing Mitsotakis are starting now and we wish him all the best, because ND must remain a refuge, at least for conservative voters and the parliamentary right.