A clear call for change

Opinion polls show that conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continues to be the government’s most important card. Although the mammoth deficits inherited from the Socialist administration have forced his government to implement strict fiscal austerity measures, New Democracy’s popularity rate is still relatively high. For certain, a section of the electorate is disappointed with the glitches in the government’s performance. Conservative ministers must rush to fulfill the demands rising from New Democracy’s pre-election pledges or else the prime minister will have to reshuffle his administration as he sees fit. Voter opinions on the economy, as recorded in recent surveys, must be considered in light of other poll findings, including one that indicates that some 60 percent of the population backs the government’s structural reform campaign. People realize that a generous policy of handouts will do nothing to remedy the situation. Instead, they want changes which will serve as a tonic for the sickly economy. For that reason, the proposed legislation for the reform of public utilities (DEKO), should mark the beginning, not the end, of the reform drive. Meanwhile, the polls also sent a message to PASOK’s George Papandreou. It is clear that the Socialists must take their own initiative instead of simply waiting for ripe fruit to fall into their hands.