Tuesday night’s debate in the Greek Parliament demonstrated the country’s need for new leadership, or perhaps new leaderships, in the clearest possible way.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took advantage of the old political system’s sins and corruption as much as he could. However, he failed to convince because he is leading the country in the same way, forming allies with the old and the corrupt.
Many believe that the so-called “institutional issues” mean very little to most people, particularly to that substantial percentage of our fellow citizens who are in despair. Voters do care, though, about the collapse of certain crucial sectors, as well as appointments which are not based on merit but rather on party allegiance.
During the debate Tsipras proved a tough player who is prepared to cross lines if that’s what it takes in order for him to remain in power, even if that means taking the country back 30 years.
Opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis joined the discussion with a huge disadvantage: He comes from an established political dynasty and a party which has governed for many years. He did show, however, that he is quite at ease debating with the prime minister in the House. Those who have argued otherwise to date will have to retreat. Mitsotakis showed stamina combined with the cool expected of a European politician. Urging Tsipras to resign and calling for the country to face a new round of elections was perhaps a throwback to the past. It was unnecessary. But the aim here was to rally the party’s deputies, a mission which seems to have been accomplished. Very few deputies have questioned his ability to become a good prime minister if elected. The majority of the party’s whining section felt he would struggle on the debate level and in case of a possible election.
For a while now we have been waiting to see if some other kind of Tsipras existed, the kind of political leader who would go the extra mile and display an honest desire for consensus. As time goes by it is becoming clearer that the premier does not have these faculties, nor does he have the managerial capacity required by the times. He is good at one game only – the one he mastered during his years in the arena of university politics. That is why he won three consecutive ballots.
Now that the honeymoon is over, however, what has become clear in Parliament is that the huge, polarized distinction between the old and the new has been extremely falsified and has now run its course.