Crisis: both threat and opportunity

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has become very busy trying to heal his party’s wounds and regain the advantage. His top cadres are trumpeting Beethoven’s «Eroica» symphony, doing the rounds of prefectural committees in an attempt to convince New Democracy party members that the next paraliamentary elections are a long way off – definitely after the 2010 presidential election. Meanwhile, ND’s deputies, who are buffeted by the people’s dissatisfaction, are playing Mozart’s «Requiem,» fearing that sooner or later Karamanlis will be forced to go to the polls and lose. The question of whether the government is to remain in power for several more months is not only one of parliamentary arithmetic, it depends on the prime minister’s political will and his ability to rule with a firm hand, by letting the people know that he is managing the economic crisis efficiently. Though it may seem an oxymoron, the crisis is Karamanlis’s last chance to show the people that he is of use to his country. For, despite the undoubtedly serious mistakes made over the past few months in the economic sector, the current government’s policy is the only one that can guarantee a line of defense against the crisis and protect the people from the loss of their homes, their savings and, above all, their jobs. Despite the praiseworthy efforts of PASOK leader George Papandreou, he is unfortunately hostage to the populist policies of the Left which, were they left to be translated into specific government actions, would bankrupt the economy. Homeowners are well aware of that. Despite Papandreou’s promises of handouts, they know that the checks would bounce. But if Karamanlis is to cling to power, he, first of all, has to call his government to order and stop its members from undermining each other’s policies. Otherwise they will all sink to the bottom together.