OPINION

Two sides of the same coin?

two-sides-of-the-same-coin

In the democratic system, political parties play distinct roles depending on the situation, on whether the issue at hand is regional, European or global. In simple words this means that some issues need to be addressed by the center-right and others by the center-left. When these two political forces take turns in governing the country, we achieve synthesis and the country is able to harmonize with prevalent trends.

SYRIZA shot to power as an incipient, immature and disconnected political mechanism. The price of its devastating amateurism and extremely antagonistic attitude toward the country’s partners and creditors has been paid in full by Greece and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is now struggling – perhaps in vain – to manage the revolutionary mood he stirred up in society when he was in opposition to his predecessor, Antonis Samaras.

Tsipras, however, signed a new memorandum that was ratified by New Democracy – under the previous leadership of Evangelos Meimarakis – and other parties, just to keep the country in the eurozone. This broad support gave Greece’s European partners the ammunition they needed to pass the deal through their parliaments as well. But what came after that was a four-month period of pathetic infighting for the election of an “anti-Tsipras” at the helm of New Democracy, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis winning the vote. There is a good chance that he will end up being just another side of the same unreliable coin.

The performance of Tsipras and his associates in almost all areas of governance has been such as to make them an excellent target for the harshest of criticism. The implementation of the memorandum – which is always designed by our creditors – is defective and unbalanced, but this has been the case since back in May 2010; this is why the new program is additionally burdened by measures that were not implemented in the previous five years and were simply swept under the carpet.

The job of the opposition is to criticize and point out the consequences of the government’s mistaken policies, not to vote for them. The transformation of Greece into an investors’ paradise, as Mitsotakis promises, even though a possible prospect takes a great deal of time to achieve. Pension and tax reforms in the meantime are here.

I am afraid that we are heading toward a time of acute political tension that could possibly lead to elections even before September and see not just Greece as a loser, but also Tsipras and Mitsotakis. The response to the populism of the left is certainly not the populism of the self-proclaimed reformists.