OPINION

Pre-election tactics

Ever since the mid-1980s, the Socialists’ overtures to the Left Coalition and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) have been a standard element of its pre-election tactics, aimed at facilitating the sway of traditional leftist voters toward PASOK. The Socialists’ secretary-general is well aware of the bitter experience and the prejudice that this repeated maneuver has accumulated in the headquarters of KKE and the Left Coalition. Despite this he is once again employing it, hoping that the lure of electoral system change and the offer to support an increased number of mayoral candidates from the two parties could shape the necessary conditions for an electoral alliance – at least during a crucial second ballot. Every party leadership has the right to hammer out its own strategy, but using the transformation of the election law according to partisan objectives and with the aim of obstructing political shifts undermines the credibility of our political system. During the politically anomalous 1989-90 period, PASOK’s leadership imposed a version of simple proportional representation in order to block New Democracy’s rise to power but, in the end, it only gave an unprecedented boost the conservatives’ electoral percentage. We cannot afford repeating such tricks, because under the recent constitutional revision any change in the electoral law will come into effect not in the coming election but in the following one. Despite all this, the introduction of an electoral system adapted to the objectives of the ruling Socialists would tarnish the credibility of our political system. Most importantly, the governing party is not the only one able to draw support from small and ideologically akin parties. True, if one-seat constituencies and two rounds of voting together with the sharing of other seats according to a system of simple proportional representation are introduced, PASOK could hope to sway voters from the Left Coalition, the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) and, in part, from KKE, although ND could aspire to draw support from voters of the newly established Movement of Free Citizens (KEP). Even so, it would be unfair to formulate conditions favoring one of the two major parties that comprise the pillars of our political system. Otherwise, PASOK and the Left Coalition have every right to not only enter a strategic alliance but even to integrate into a single party. Such a development would, of course, diminish the degree of political pluralism.