Weather provides PR opportunity?

The sudden onslaught of bad weather that affected the entire country, and particularly Attica, at the end of last week, provided the perfect public relations opportunity for both the ruling party and the opposition ahead of the forthcoming elections. Apparently mindful of the last elections in Germany – where Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder did not hesitate to make his presence felt in «monitoring» the catastrophic floods, while his Christian Democrat opponent was away on vacation, thus reversing the negative pre-electoral climate and helping him to win the elections – Papandreou and Karamanlis ventured out into the cold with camera crews to ensure they were seen «on the front line» of efforts to tackle major problems; demonstrating their concern by talking to snowed-in motorists. Admittedly, the tone of the «commentaries» delivered by both party leaders regarding the readiness of the state machine to tackle such problems (not including the rescue services who braved the elements to help citizens) was rather restrained – especially those of the opposition leader, in marked contrast to the harsh criticism from pro-opposition media. Papandreou restricted himself to making observations (refraining from apologizing for delays and shortfalls), while Karamanlis wisely left citizens to express their outrage, simply noting that the government had tackled similar situations «with the same degree of readiness» over the past two years.