OPINION

The elections and the good of the country

the-elections-and-the-good-of-the-country

Politicians and analysts across the ideological spectrum are talking about the possibility of snap elections while focusing on how this would benefit one political party or another. They appear to be ignoring the bigger issue: the management – with speed, efficiency and continuity – of the public health, economic and social challenges that lie ahead.

They are ignoring the crisis that most businesses – small, medium-sized and large – face, the collapse of tourism (one of the country’s key sources of revenue), and skyrocketing unemployment.

Instead, they are seeking to assess the gains that can be secured by a party or leader. Such a cynical and one-sided approach is cause for consternation and exasperation.

Many lawmakers presently in the Parliament support an early election as this would mean they’d be re-elected since the vote would be according to set candidate lists based on the results of last year’s election.

Others want to take advantage of the lead the conservatives are enjoying in public opinion polls, even though there are no guarantees this will still be the case come fall. There is also the question of what incumbent New Democracy would do faced with the choice of forming a coalition with Movement for Change or Greek Solution given that the next elections will take place under the system of simple proportional representation.

With the data – and common sense – pointing to a deep recession ahead, any well-meaning observer (a dying breed in a world where morality, truth and objectivity are increasingly regarded almost as naivete) would point out the following: First, the government – which was only elected last year and with a comfortable margin – has the absolute legitimacy to implement its policies. Second, these policies will obviously not be based on the promises it made in the campaign for the July 2019 election, in the pre-coronavirus period. Third, the management of the health crisis and efforts to prop up the economy should not be undermined by an unnecessary election in the fall – to be followed very possibly by a second, since under the proportional system it will be very difficult to form a government – when we are likely to face a second wave of the pandemic.Finally, it should also go without saying that we need to respect the constitutional guidelines which call for elections to be held every four years.

Hence, the prime minister should do what he needs to do, albeit under the watchful eye of the opposition: Continue fighting the good fight and fixing what is wrong, have an open mind with respect to any useful proposal by the opposition, and be judged at the end of its four-year term – when the opposition will also be judged.

It’s as simple as that: Go the distance, without cynical calculations, and show institutional respect for the process of elections.