A new politics: Meeting pledges

Asked whether the government intends to distance itself from its pre-election pledges in the face of a swelling deficit, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos flatly rejected the allegation. «We have undertaken (a number of) pre-election commitments that we intend to honor,» the spokesman said. Roussopoulos’s reaction is perfectly justified. Some economic indicators are gloomy, making the government’s task of finding funds to meet its pre-election commitments even more difficult. However, no one really expected that fulfilling those promises would be easy – especially given the high cost of hosting the Athens Olympic Games. At stake is the credibility of the government and the restoration of trust in its relationship with the citizens – not just those who believed in the New Democracy party and voted it into power but also those who did not and who expect to judge it by its actions. Lavish promises made by political leaders who subsequently fail to honor them are a perpetual trauma to the body politic. The administration of Costas Karamanlis will do a great service to the conservative party, but more importantly to the notion of politics, if it manages to make good on the promises in the electoral program it announced ahead of the national ballot on March 7. Greek citizens are tired of seeing governments that spend most of their time and energy on looking for and coming up with excuses of why it is (seemingly) objectively impossible to fulfill the pledges they have undertaken. People are eager to see a government that will turn its words into deeds and that will speedily come up with proposals of how to overcome any obstacles that may surface. A politics of that sort, which is radically different to what we have experienced until now, would win the trust of the citizens and invite conscious acceptance of any fluctuation in the pace of implementation. In addition, a politics of that sort would guarantee the so-called social peace – a sine qua non for carrying out a long-term program like the one envisaged by the Karamanlis administration, an administration that appears set to enjoy a long-lived tenure.

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