OPINION

The cost of new polls

Although much has been written and said about the eventuality of early polls next spring, it appears that the imminent presidential elections will be the easiest yet. The leaders of both main political parties have said they are aiming for a consensus and that they do not want to provoke early elections. There is the chance that things will take an entirely different course but that is very unlikely. The ruling party has no reason to provoke early elections, even indirectly. The only conceivable benefit would be for it to secure an extra year in power. But this would make it difficult to clinch a subsequent term in 2009. Our postwar history shows that no political leader in Greece has ever achieved three election victories in a row, keeping them in power for a spell of more than eight years. Even if Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is not influenced by this fact, he must weigh the consequences of provoking early elections. New Democracy enjoys a comfortable parliamentary majority and is faced with an opposition party too preoccupied with its own internal problems to make life difficult for the government. In other words, Karamanlis is in a very advantageous position to enforce his policies. So, were he to impose early elections, he would be opposing the will of most citizens who do not want another round of elections so soon. Papandreou has more serious reasons to avoid elections. He knows that PASOK would suffer a heavy defeat…