OPINION

Exculpation

With his clear electoral victory, the leader of New Democracy, Costas Karamanlis, achieved something that had not been accomplished by any of the party’s previous leaders, not even its founder Constantinos Karamanlis. For better or for worse, fairly or unfairly, ND has borne the guilt of its predecessors since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. None of its founder’s bold initiatives, nor its impressive amassment of 54 percent of votes in the first post-1974 elections helped it to shift the blame. It continued to carry the guilt of its predecessors for their anti-democratic behavior during the 1950s and ’60s, for their persecution of political rivals, certificates proving non-affiliation with the Communist Party, for the atmosphere of division, mistrust and fear instilled through the police, armed forces and secret services, and finally for tolerance of the far-rightists who organized the fateful coup. It also carried guilt for the party’s authoritarian policy, whose cause no one was prepared to investigate, but which provoked the emergence of various repressed desires, discontentment and an extremism that the post-dictatorship regime had difficulty in allaying and which found its expression, and its distortion, in the form of the November 17 terror group… Now Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis faces the challenge of exculpating the political stage as a whole, of making politics credible once again.