The center-left void
Greece is in urgent need of a strong center-left political force. It’s time for egos to be pushed aside and for the prima donnas and wannabe feudal lords to step down from their high horses and unite under one umbrella. Never-ending group therapy doesn’t lead anywhere.
The center-left has plenty of experienced politicians and executives who are familiar with the tasks of governance. However, the problem is that, just as in the past stretching as far back as the days of late PASOK strongman and premier Andreas Papandreou, they all want to be crowned the leader. Meanwhile, time just keeps ticking away.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had the opportunity to lead a center-left political force. Europe handed him the keys that would have allowed him to become the strongest voice of Greek socialism. The leftist leader continues to reject that opportunity and governs in the manner he thinks best, mainly with people and methods that represent no one but the 3 percent minimum threshold needed for making it into Parliament.
Neither he nor his party has made any overtures toward the moderate, pro-Europe center-left. Even many of the party’s officials – except of course for those who are simply looking to keep their cushy jobs – are unhappy with the political culture of today’s government. Hateful rhetoric and attacks on the country’s institutions have made for a strange cohabitation that they find repelling.
SYRIZA will try, through trickery and maybe even some vapid rhetoric, to convince everyone that the party is evolving into a new center-left political force. If the remaining protagonists continue to sit around talking and sipping on their green tea, SYRIZA will succeed in establishing itself as the country’s permanent center-left alternative.
Without changing, in essence, SYRIZA will seem like the only real option for citizens of left or center-left opinions, who find it difficult for cultural reasons to vote for New Democracy, to turn to.
Many excuses have been given for doing nothing and continuing to talk about the future of the center-left. There are many cafes and restaurants that do brisk business thanks to housing such soul-searching. But the country needs a strong center-left lineup, which along with New Democracy can take on the task of rehabilitating the country’s institutions and restoring its values.
Time is running out at an alarming speed. In September, the political pot will begin to boil again and there will be no more excuses for such inaction.