Hypocrites of partisan politics

The second round of municipal elections wrapped up «the victory of local administration.» It was a race of blatant hypocrisy as party cadres did not tire of professing their dedication to local government while at the same time squashing votes, municipalities and prefectures into party-colored boxes, in a gesture that stifled the notion of partisan-free local administration. After all it was the Interior Ministry itself that supplied television channels with the familiar party-colored boxes (blue, green, red, white surrounded by blue or green, and so on) so as to ensure that repeated reassurances by party officials fell on deaf ears. These included reassurances that they did not intervene in the election, that they did not make nominations against the general will, that they did not undermine renegade candidates, and that they did not curry political favors or receive bribes. In the interim between the two elections, politicians made every effort to transform the municipal poll into a plebiscite for the government and the opposition parties. Ministers and cadres flattered, promised and threatened in a bid to paint the very last municipality in their party color. They worked not to offer solutions to problems of the different municipalities but to steal the show in the ensuing three-hour analysis of the results. After all, a neck-and-neck contest is nothing if it’s not reconstituted on the screen. In any case, the second round made clear three things. First of all, New Democracy cannot claim to be almighty. Second, PASOK cannot claim to be a serious challenger for power when its very leader is in doubt. Finally, it became clear that even if it took five rounds to elect a winner, the audience would still find it hard to shed their preordained certainties for the sake of the «right» political message.