Grace period

A government’s first hundred days are the most crucial, political analysts claim. The government’s mandate is still fresh (even more so following a landslide victory, as in the case of New Democracy) and it is still enjoying a grace period, giving the government a free hand to implement its program – even if this is a slimmed-down version of the party’s pre-election pledges. However, the elections for the European Parliament, coming less than three months after the national polls, seem to have held back the activity of the government which thought a fresh public mandate would strengthen its grip on power and put extra stress on the Socialist opposition. As a result, the conservative government chose to postpone action in certain sensitive sectors so as avoid appearing inconsistent with its pre-election pledges, many of which were super-optimistic and unrealistic – and instead win another election victory. And so it did. We are not sure whether its tactic was sound – politically speaking, that is. Given the public toleration toward the new government (and accumulated disappointment from the performance of its Socialist predecessor and developments surrounding PASOK’s leadership switch), chances that the government would be damaged were strictly limited. And in a sense, the show of determination and disregard for the political cost would enhance the government’s image and display a genuine reformist thrust.