Conservative awakening

The internal friction marking the Greek Right over the past 25 years has disillusioned its grassroot supporters. It is a sign of political immaturity, and indicates a failure to deal with real problems. Instead of liberating creative forces, it breeds navel gazing. Conservative leaders have repeatedly tried to restore the New Democracy party’s equilibrium, but these efforts always ended up in failure. That is no argument for booting out dissenters. Nevertheless, they would be badly mistaken to turn a blind eye to the problem or to pretend it can be overcome by capitalizing on the disastrous consequences of the Simitis governments or the conundrum now facing PASOK leader George Papandreou. Taking a major step forwards through policies designed to inspire particular social groups is the only way to avoid a crisis. The argument that ND lacks experienced figures is weak; for this is not about a government making mistakes but about a government which, even through its sound decisions, has fallen short of creating any societal momentum. In addition, PM Costas Karamanlis has only been in power for a brief period of time. Andreas Papandreou’s rise to power in 1981 conveyed the feeling of a social revolution, catapulting formerly sidelined social groups to the center of attention. Costas Simitis, for his part, ensured the support of a smaller group but one holding far greater economic power. The «middle ground,» on the other hand, has failed to provide much-needed social momentum. As a consequence, ND has already started to show signs that usually surface at the close of a four- or even eight-year tenure. Faced with this unacceptable predicament, its leadership must rouse not only the administration but also the entire party. Some crucial changes have to be made.