OPINION

Seeking consensus

The decision by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to propose Karolos Papoulias – a founding member of PASOK and a friend and close associate of Andreas Papandreou – as candidate for president has been widely welcomed with relief and enthusiasm, even delight. It is not comparable to Andreas Papandreou’s proposal of Costis Stephanopoulos as a presidential candidate. The candidacy of Stephanopoulos, the current president, was then regarded as a challenge by the then opposition, which did not end up voting for Stephanopoulos. On the contrary, Karamanlis’s proposal presupposes and secures the cooperation of the current opposition and is unlikely to meet resistance from other factions of the political spectrum. And, apart from its practical advantage – that it neatly solves the dilemma of appointing a new president without needlessly provoking fresh elections – Karamanlis’s proposal is likely to have long-term implications on the political level. This proposal by the ruling majority has clarified its intention of forging a new and different relationship with the opposition minority. However, an administration does not just need the support of the majority to effectively govern… When it comes to challenging issues of interest to all, such as social security, the opposition is crucial since a consensus is necessary…