Looking for a cause

Greek governments have traditionally invoked the Cyprus problem as an excuse to call for early elections – a habit that betrays the importance attached to the issue by native politicians. The conservative New Democracy party could once again quote the controversy surrounding Nicosia’s oil exploration plans but the once-guiding Cyprus-decides-while-Greece-stands-by foreign policy dogma appears to be out of favor. Alternatively, the government could call for a snap election on the grounds of the education crisis. The truth is, however, that pompous warnings over the education mess in the past have had no impact on state education spending. That the government’s education bill was presented at a time when things seemed to be calming down underscores the fact that the move was not prompted by any reformist drive but by political expediency. After all, even senior conservative cadres agree that developments on the education front are a potential boost to New Democracy’s ratings. The same officials, it seems, are not too bothered whether early elections will indeed remedy Greece’s education malaise. The government camp is split into three groups, depending on their preferred election dates: spring, autumn or full term. However, they all share the same motive: the interest of the party. Things have always been that way. If past governments called for early elections, it was not really for the sake of Cyprus or education. Any decision is always made based on pragmatism. After all, portraying the party’s interest as national gain is no harder than portraying personal interest as party gain. Most politicians have already put their campaign apparatuses in operation as they all feel that failure to achieve re-election would be a huge problem for the nation.