Ballots will end but problems remain

The local elections are over and the political conclusions have been drawn. The government came out stronger whereas the Socialist opposition suffered some damage. Apart from analyzing their election performance, politicians must also focus on the essence of the politics, meaning the chronic problems of the Greek economy and society. So while everyone is busy measuring to the last degree the extent to which they gained or lost power across the country’s municipalities and prefectures (in an election where people are supposed to vote for the good of local administration, not parties), the government must get back to work. A number of serious problems are awaiting a solution such as the ongoing strike of primary and preschool teachers, the ticking time bomb of Greece’s social security funds, the ailing Olympic Airlines, a growing deficit, public debt, and scant foreign investment – to mention just a few. Whatever the political interpretation of Sunday’s election, the country’s structural defects remain. They are deteriorating further, with no solution in sight. Pressure to act on the heavily indebted state carrier – a problem that the previous PASOK government swept under the carpet by merely giving the company a new name – is growing as the cost of keeping it in the air is rising. The European Union has fined the Greek government. Meanwhile, the EU is looking again at women’s retirement age and the public sector is giving people a hard time. Regardless of the impact of the local elections on the country’s political landscape, politicians must immediately resume efforts to tackle the many persisting problems. People expect to see action.