Poll calls for changes in politics

A recent opinion poll, conducted by the polling firm VPRC on behalf of Skai Radio and Television, has come up with two particularly interesting findings about Greek politics and the country’s electorate. If 73 percent of the electorate – or at least a representative sample of the country’s voters – were convinced that certain public figures had become rich by illegal means, they would expect Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to ensure that the relevant heads rolled as soon as he had the incriminating evidence in his hands. This country needs a responsible government, an administration which does not allow itself to fall prey to the excesses and exaggerations of television news and the impetuous accusations leveled against it by the main opposition party PASOK. But the opinion poll also reveals something else. The majority of the public feels a sense of outrage at recent revelations that a civil servants’ pension fund overpaid some 5 million euros for a government bond, which strongly indicated that inexperienced and/or corrupt managers were making important investment decisions. But although they are angry, these voters are not turning to PASOK leader George Papandreou as a viable alternative to head their country’s government. For it would seem that the opposition leader’s wooden 1980s-style leadership – with all its excesses and rhetoric – has failed to convince them. Ultimately, the opinion poll reveals what is in any case self-evident: namely that the Greek public wants Karamanlis to implement all the anti-corruption measures he has heralded since the last major scandal. The poll also makes it quite clear that citizens want Papandreou to drop the populist rhetoric and start addressing them in a modern, political language that is intelligible and pertinent to the man in the street and his everyday life.

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