A crucial period

The prime minister and his ruling New Democracy party still appear to enjoy the trust of the majority of Greeks, according to recent poll figures, even though their policies over the past 17 months have been anything but populist in the sense of providing appreciable benefits. Nevertheless, this extended trust in – or at least tolerance of – the ND government should be considered together with indications from the same survey that PASOK and its leader have lost much of their credibility. A considerable 61.1 percent of those polled believe the main opposition party «has no clear policy,» 52.6 percent believes that its leader, George Papandreou, «is not the right leader for PASOK» and 55.8 percent think he is incapable of bringing his party back to power (according to a Kapa Research survey published in yesterday’s To Vima). So the question is, how satisfied should New Democracy be if its lead is directly linked to its rival’s failings? Based on the survey’s findings, the preference for the ruling party appears to be based more on necessity than anything else, since the alternative is worse. It should not be seen as a vote of real confidence, given that things could change if its rival recovers. ND’s apparent lead should not be cause for celebration. Nevertheless, it enables it to implement policy with greater ease, ignoring political cost which PASOK, at least for the moment, is not in any position to exploit. At least that’s the impression one gets after observing lukewarm reactions to developments such as the structural changes at the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE). If ND manages to complete the changes it has promised and achieve the economic goals demanded by the European Union within its first two years in office, it will have consolidated its political predominance.

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