OPINION

A will for change

George Papandreou was spot-on when he said a party does not necessarily earn the right to govern just because it has been waiting on the sidelines for a long time. A change of government comes about in order to meet a political need or fill a void. Ultimately, it is the result of popular demand for change – often diffused through the various social strata, but clear. And this popular demand actually exists. It is not only to be seen in opinion polls – which anyway undermine their own credibility by offering contradictory results. It can also be seen in Papandreou’s attempts to present himself to voters as the bringer of change, the leader who readily admits that there is a need for an overhaul – both of his party and the government. Whether this is a pre-electoral tactic or not is less significant than whether this is a reflection of a general will for change. This popular demand existed way before it became a slogan for the opposition New Democracy party… and then for Papandreou. Over the last few years, it has operated as an expression of popular discontent, protest, even rage. There were many reasons for this: Farmers watched their incomes dwindle and the unemployed and low-income classes were threatened with social exclusion and marginalization. And their protests turned into outrage following proposals for pension reform and changes to state education and health. But the discontent really set in when citizens realized that they could not avoid paying bribes if they wanted to deal with the public sector…