Karamanlis’s tactics

The interesting thing about the government’s policy speech is that it did not contain any surprises. Karamanlis followed the same line as he had in the pre-election campaign – something that suggests he meant what he had promised. Some believe he is pursuing this tactic in view of the European elections in June. If this is true, our new prime minister will not reveal his true colors until the fall, once the Olympics are over. Until then, he is faced with an emergency situation. Due to the delays, the timely completion of preparations for the Games will be a close call. And so the government has decided to avoid making any move which could rock the boat. As the Euro-elections are scheduled just three months after national elections, they are unlikely to have a major impact on the political stage in Greece. Despite this, Karamanlis appears to be treating them as significant. He is aware that his party won the general elections because a large proportion of voters from the left and center-left supported New Democracy in order to oust PASOK from power. The political gamble that the new premier appears to have made with himself is to expand ND’s catchment area by turning votes of no confidence in PASOK into votes of confidence in ND. Karamanlis became prime minister not only to govern but also to establish a new political balance of power. Seen in this light, he is following the example of PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou and not ND founder Constantine Mitsotakis.

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