Selection criteria

Those who protested most loudly over the PASOK leader’s decision to nominate Gulbeyaz Karahasan as the party’s candidate for Drama-Davala-Xanthi prefect have taken the issue very seriously. It is a pity that the reasons for her nomination were not as serious, or even honest. As so often happens in our political life, impressions are more important than substance. If George Papandreou had really wanted to nominate candidates for the next local elections from the Muslim (or any other) minority, he should have recommended the abolition of «higher» prefects (with authority over more than one prefecture) before nominating the personable Ms Karahasan. These posts were instituted in 1994 when Papandreou’s father Andreas was prime minister, specifically to prevent the nomination of Muslim prefects in Thrace. So Papandreou’s decision has all the trappings of a decision made with short-term goals in mind, particularly in view of opposition from his party’s «patriotic» wing. As for the ruling New Democracy party, its own cadres also reacted before their leaders decided to downplay the issue. So now there is no political opposition to Karahasan’s candidacy apart from the ultra-right LAOS party, most of whose support is in northern Greece. ND thus faced a dilemma of losing votes to LAOS if it did not oppose Karahasan, or losing centrist votes if it did. Yet this does not mean more votes for PASOK, parts of which also oppose her nomination. Meanwhile the Muslim minority suspects that the nomination was simply imposed from above. So those who hastened to praise the nomination should think again. For a political move to have honest results, it should be prompted by honest motives.