Sunday’s election result marks more than a change in the balance of power between Greece’s political parties. It also signifies a radical shift in domestic political ethics.
SYRIZA, a product of the biggest crisis in the country’s post-1974 era, waged the election battle using the weapons of the old clientelistic system: lavish handouts, dubious promises and vulgar ad hominem attacks on rivals. But the demagogic tactics were of no avail.
The conservative leader did not give in to the logic of handouts and polarization and nevertheless managed to score a big victory in a battle he essential fought on his own. In the end he actually vowed to represent all Greeks.
Sunday’s vote was a defeat for the passions stirred by the crisis. It was a defeat for populism.