The first round of voting to elect a leader of the new center-left party that took place last Sunday was organized in an excellent manner and had an impressive voter turnout. This was due to the persistence of Professor Nikos Alivizatos. Members of the academic community are not always clueless when it comes to practical matters.
So much for matters of procedure. In terms of substance, the tantalizingly interesting aspect of the vote was that it showed – beyond any doubt – that supporters of this new movement revolve around a “hard” core and are averse to those who pretend, or really mean, to express, albeit in unclear terms, something “new.”
The two opponents in Sunday’s runoff are PASOK and that alone. This is an iron law and applies to all parties and not exclusively to parties on the extremes. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the “reformist” trend is nonexistent. On the contrary, there is such a trend and it’s loud now.
The disadvantage of this trend, which includes people that are indeed respectable, is that it never takes the risk needed to form a uniform party by taking on the bastions of anachronism and the Dark Ages. Instead, members of this trend usually attempt, clumsily for that matter, to act within a center-right or center-left coalition, at the expense of their mental well-being, while lamenting the low intellectual level of the masses. They basically move within a framework that seeks, above all, to secure a balance.
Nonetheless, “reform” is not only a reality, it is unavoidable. Regardless of what people want, reform is imperative, and basically means adapting to what is described as reality. There is no more telling example than that of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA. There is a massive chasm between the radical left espoused by SYRIZA in 2012, when it became the main opposition party, and the summer of 2015, when the ruling party changed in order to fully harmonize with the demands of the Eurogroup and the institutions. PASOK also had a similar course from the early post-dictatorship era to its “reformist mutation” under Prime Minister Costas Simitis – the only difference being that in the latter case the adaptation time was longer.
Therefore, the reformist candidates that didn’t make it to Sunday’s runoff round should not despair. Mutations in this country take place in an a la grecque style and rightly so in some respects. We’re not all “European,” not equals, nor the same, and of course we are not the worst.