Timing is crucial

Prime ministers in Greece often fall victim to a unique type of egotism. After a great catastrophe, such as the deadly wildfires that ripped through the coastal town of Mati in eastern Attica last week, they delay making decisions to attribute responsibility – which might go some way toward lessening public anger – on the grounds that nobody should make such decisions in the heat of the moment. Then they act egotistically, proclaiming that it is not the media or anyone else who will decide when to reshuffle their cabinet, or when heads will roll, but them and them alone.

The result is that when they actually do make a corrective move, it falls flat, failing to provide the much-needed catharsis, and sometimes angering voters even further. However, whether a politician is successful or not depends to a great degree on the timing of each of their actions.

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