A call for fresh blood

The conservative government is almost halfway through its term of office. The government should already have pushed through all the reforms that it set out as crucial before it rode to power some two years ago. The two-year benchmark is not just connected to the electoral cycle and common experience, which has it that governments are unlikely to introduce drastic measures with elections looming in the relatively near future. Furthermore, time is needed to feel the full impact of reforms – a significant fact insofar as the government wishes to materialize the pledges it has made to the voters and live up to its European Union commitments. However, with only a few months before the two-year mark, reforms remain incomplete. Some sectors have yet to see any structural reforms instituted, while others call for additional action. The government must accelerate its efforts and make up for lost time. New Democracy officials will never be able to step up their pace unless they are clearly focused on their goals – which under the present circumstances is impossible. Recent developments suggest that coordination, cohesion and harmony are mostly absent in the ruling camp. Moreover, the shower of corruption allegations has thrown the conservatives into confusion, and has prevented the ruling party from articulating a robust political message or reacting to the media attacks orchestrated by the so-called entangled interests. In light of all this, it should be evident that the prime minister needs to shake up his government. Some figures are no doubt weary while others have from the start failed to live up to their responsibilities. Only a reshuffle can give the government a new lease on life. Political custom has it that there is no reshuffle ahead of the budget vote, around which the government traditionally measures its fighting forces. But the government urgently needs fresh blood and such concerns should be brushed aside. A government shakeup is the only path that is available to Costas Karamanlis. But it will help his government only if it is done in the right way: by taking into account political qualifications, not geography or his party’s internal balance of power. Whenever such wrong-headed criteria were adopted in choosing his first appointees two years ago, the result was a failure. Greece needs work, and only the best qualified can produce that. Where deputies are elected and who their friends are says nothing about their performance.