OPINION

Political hegemony

New Democracy’s strong mandate following Sunday’s vote, the signals that Costas Karamanlis has sent out since he was sworn-in as premier and the blatant weaknesses of the Socialist party, all have created the conditions for a lengthy political hegemony by the conservative leader. Karamanlis has what it takes to achieve this. He pulled off a victory against a strong network of vested interests without undertaking compromising commitments and obligations and, most importantly, with a dedication to moral principles. Following Karamanlis’s instructions to his Cabinet members, his insistence on transparency and humility, and his personal involvement in cultural affairs, his approval rate has by far exceeded the election result. Society is overcoming the inhibitions and reservations which originated in partisan divisions and is acknowledging his efforts. In the Socialist camp, on the other hand, the disclosure of George Papandreou’s shortcomings, the conspicuous amateurism of his campaign planners, and PASOK’s image as a party that has overstepped the mark worsen the Socialists’ attempt at revival. The vacillations of the campaign period and the widespread impression that the administration was pandering to special interests all suggest that PASOK will find it hard to get back on its feet. Many people believe that unless PASOK reorganizes itself, restoring in-party democracy and holding a dialogue about its political and ideological renewal, it will slide into a sea of dissent like that which has beset the Spanish socialists for a decade. With a clear strategy, the experience of being seven years in the opposition and save any unforeseen calamities, Karamanlis has what it takes for a long-lived hegemony in Greek political life.