Once again, no one lost

It’s like hearing a group of people extolling vegetarianism and sport and seeing them immediately afterward tucking into a well-cooked, grain-fed steak no doubt to exercise their jaws and abs. Party officials do not tire of professing their respect for the non-partisan character of municipal and prefectural elections. And shortly afterward we see them counting the prefects and municipalities won by their own candidates and trading arguments in order to demonstrate their victory in a race that was supposedly indifferent to their party. For some reason politicians find it hard to see that their show of insincerity is also responsible for the low turnouts in the polls. The good thing about national elections is you can easily single out the loser. It’s the party that fails to climb to power. But when it comes to local elections, everyone can claim to be a winner. It happened again on Sunday. Representatives from all parties could be heard bragging about their victory. In fact, they were so anxious to make an impression that they did not even wait for the first official results, instead riding on the most flattering exit polls. But if opinion polls were good enough, we wouldn’t really have to walk all the way to the ballot. Although a hasty George Papandreou saw a «change of the political scenery,» New Democracy’s hegemony escaped virtually unscathed – definitely in better shape than its enemies would hope. But if ruling officials make the mistake of translating their non-defeat into a victory or triumph, of turning a deaf ear to the message from the ballot, of continuing to believe that they are starring in a one-man show, then the famous call for «modesty and humility» will no longer echo as an unfulfilled wish, as it does now, but as another name for arrogance.